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Author: 



Brockett, Linius Pierpont 



Title: 

Walter Powell, of 
Melbourne and London 

Place: 

New York 

Date: 

1872 



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Brockett, Linius Pierpont, 1820-1893. 

Walter Powell, of Melbourne and London, merchant, 
philanthropist, and Christian ... Edited and largely re- 
written from Eev. Be^'amin Gregory's ** Memoirs of 
Walter Powell, mercham". By L. P. Brockett ... New 
York, G. Eoutledge & sons, 1872. 

viii, 357p. 18^". 



l._Powell, Walter, 1822-1868. i-jCregory, Benjamin, 1820-1900. The 
thorough business man. Memoirs of Walter Powell, merchant. ^ 



Library of Congress 
Copyright 1872: 12357 







CT788.P79B7 



25-15653 



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WALTEU POWELL 



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MELBOURNE AND LONDON, 






•' Diligent in bitsinesH, fervent in spirit, servirig the Lord.' 



EDITED AKD LARGELY REWRITTEN FROM REV. BENJAMIN GREGORY'S 

''MEMOIRS OF WALTER POAVELl, MERCHANT.'' 



By L. p. BKOCKETT, M.D., 

Al'THOR or 
•'MEN OF OUB DAY," "WOMAN'S WORK IN THE CiVXL WAR,' ETC., ETC. 



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NEW YORK: 

GEORGE EOUTLEDGE & SONS, 

416 BROOME STREET. 
1872. 



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Entered according to Act of Congre«8, in the yeur 1872, by 

GEOIIGE KOUTLEDGE & SONS, 

In the Office of tlie Librarian of Congress at Washington. 



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PREFACE 



The union of remarkable business ability, deep re- 
ligious fervor, and intense activity in Christian work, 
thougli more frequent now than forty or fifty years ago, 
is not so common that we can afford to lose the benefit of 
any conspicuous examples of it. In a country where 
« the haste to be rich" has infected so large a part of the 
community, and where professing Christians are prone 
to forget their holy calling, in their zeal to accumulate 
wealth, it is refreshing to the soul to yead the history of 
a man who, while " diligent in business, was also fervent 
in spirit, serving the Lord." Few men have been en- 
dowed by our Heavenly Father with such rare business 
capacities as Walter Powell, and fewer still use them, as 
systematically as he did, for the gloiy of God. 

Who can tell how much good has been accomplished 
by the memoirs of these eminent servants of God? 
Hundreds of thousands have read the biographies of 
Norman Smith, of Nathaniel R. Cobb, of Samuel Bud- 
gett, of Amos Lawrence, of Harlan Page, and of Wil- 
liam Wilberforce ; and that they have exerted a powerful 
influence in moulding the characters of men now on the 
stage of active life, whose noble beneficence and deep 



iv 



PREFACE. 



devotion are the glory and joj of every branch of the 
one household of faith, is acknowledged by these very men. 
In presenting to the Christian public another example 
of the fervor of a living Christian faith, manifesting it- 
self in abundant good works, we feel that we are contrib- 
uting our humble mite to the promotion of that cause 
which was ever uppermost in the heart and life of Wal- 
ter Powell. 

The work, in its present form, makes little pretension 
to originality. "The Thorough Business Man: Memoirs 
of Walter Powell, Merchant, of Melbourne and Lon- 
don," by Rev. Benjamin Gregory, is its basis, and from 
that work we have di-awn very largely. But while Rev. 
Mr. Gregory believed, and peihaps wisely, that it was 
necessary for his English and Colonial readers that ho 
should interweave his narrative with elaborate discus- 
sions of questions of commercial ethics and political 
economy, we fail to perceive a similar necessity for 
American readers, and have ventured to relieve the sim- 
ple story of his life from these extraneous matters. We 
have also given somewhat less prominence to the special 
customs and forms of the Wesleyan Methodist Church 
in Australia, as not necessary to the completeness of the 
narrative, and not differing in principle, though they 
might in name, from the corresponding sub-organizations 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church here. Though a zeal- 
ous Methodist, where Methodism was needed, Walter 
Powell was too broad and comprehensive a soul to be 
regarded as the exclusive property of any one division of 



PREFACE. 



Christ's kingdom on earth. He was first and foremost of 
all, a Christian, and to all the children of God, as mem- 
bei-s of the household of faith, his heart and hand were 

ever open. 

The introduction and the chapters in which we have 
endeavored to urge upon Christian business men in our 
own country the; blessedness of such a life as his, and its 
sublime influence in the promotion of the cause of Christ 
upon earth, are all which are not in a greater or less de- 
gree drawn from IVIr. Gregory's work. That the Giver 
of every good and perfect gift, from whom come alike 
the intellectual gifts and the moral power which bless 
humanity, and to whose grace was due this conspicuous 
manifestation of the Christian life, may bless this simple 
narrative, to the upbuilding of His cause, is the sincere 

prayer of the editor of this work. 

L. P. B. 

Brooklyn, N. Y., September, 1872. 



CONTENTS. 



OllAPTKl 



lt> 



I.- 

II- 
III.- 

IV.- 

V.- 

VI.- 

VII.- 

VIII.- 

IX.- 
X.- 

XI.- 
XII.- 

xin.. 
xrv.- 

XV.- 



PAGS 

Preface "" 

Introduction ^ 

-boynood and its struggles . . . • 5 

-His Conversion 24 

-The Development of the Christian Life . 35 

-The Harmony of his Spiritual and Secu- 
lar Life ^ 

-Church Life 60 

-Removal to Melbourne 68 

-His first Voyage to England . . .78 

-His Return to Melbourne. — Life on Board 
AN Emigrant Ship 85 

-He succeeds in Business 105 

-Lo\T3 TO God Manifesting itself in Chris- 
tian Charity 118 

-His second Voyage to England . . . 139 

-Visit to America. — Return to Melbourne. 
—His Studies.— Removal to England . 152 

-His Singleness of Purpose, and Conscien- 
tious REGARD to THE DiVINE COMMANDS . 166 

-His Business Principles and Character- 
istics 179 

-His Business Characteristics, Continued . 191 






• • • 

Vlll 



CHAPTEK 

XVI.- 



XVIL- 

XVIII.- 
XIX. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 



-Other Business Characteristics Illustra- 
ted—Prudence, Caution, Watchfulness, 
AND Sound Judgment 211 

-Business Characteristics, Continued— Fru- 
gality, F.uRNESS, Contentment, and Mod- 
eration 230 

-His Consecration op his Wealth to Chris- 
tian Benevolence 246 

-His Careful and Laborious Intellectual 
Culture 268 



XX.— His Service of the Church . 
XXI 



281 



His Home Traits— Geniality, Frankness, and 
Affection 298 



XXn.— His Declining Health and Death 
XXIII.— The Lessons of his Life . 



. 317 
. 340 



I 



introduction. 



>»• 



In iiitroducing to our readers the man whose life 
is narrated in the pages of this little volume, we 
have far other aims than simj^ly to increase the 
already large list of biographies of a religions char- 
acter, by the addition of the memoii*s of a man 
whose only claims to commemoration were his piety 
and benevolence. We have already a sufficiency of 
these biographies of obscure men, without adding 
to their number. But Walter Powell was no com- 
mon man. Reared from infancy in the newest and 
wildest of the British Antipodal Colonies, amid 
severe hardships and great moral perils, with no 
early education, except that derived from a mother's 
teaching; transferred, in the very prime of man- 
hood, to the scarcely more settled and civilized 
Australian town of Melbourne, exposed to the great 
temptations and vicissitudes of the early gold min- 
in^*" period ; voyaging repeatedly to England and 
America ; establishing in the midst of great excite- 
ment and constant changes, an extensive business, 
on a basis so linn, that no finan(iial panics were able 
to disturb it ; and when his house had become the 
leading one in the Colony, withdrawing from its 
personal supervision, and establishing in London a 
still larger one, whose transactions were extensive 
in every quarter of the globe. Amid this extraor- 
dinary busiuess activity, conducted often under the 
pressure of impaired health, this man found time 



i 



2 INTRODIJCnON. 

and opportunity for intellectual and aesthetic cul- 
ture so extensive and generous, that he became, 
even in their favorite studies, the peer of men 
whose scientific attainments had been gained in the 
halls of the great universities, and under the most 
favorable circumstances. He became a popular and 
eloquent public speaker, and could have gained, had 
it been worthy his ambition, a seat in Parliament. 
And yet he died in the very prime of life, at the 
age of forty-five years. 

But it is not for his great business abilities, nor 
for the height of intellectual or aesthetic culture 
which he had attained, self-taught, that we have felt 
that his memoirs should be written, but because 
amid all this connnercial activity, and this incessant 
study, underlying it all, and forming the solid and 
substantial basis of his character, was an active, 
ardent, working piety. He had consecrated liimself 
to Christ, in the dawn of his youth, before his ex- 
traordinary commercial prosperity, and he was not 
the man to draw back from that consecration ; in 
the time when business was most overwhelming, he 
was most active in the service of his Divine Master, 
and this activity was never relaxed until he was 
called up to the service of praise on high. His re- 
ligion was not a Sabbath-day worship, whose benign 
influences did not extend into his week-day life ; on 
the contrary, it permeated every business transac- 
tion ; it showed itself in his solicntude to do rightly 
and justly by liis customei-s, and his determination 
to exa(it what was just and right from those with 
whom he dealt; it caused hiin to bp lionored and 



INTEODUCTION. ^ 

respected as a man of the stanchest principle, by all 
who had dealings with him ; it illustrated the truth 
so often doubted and denied, that the highest Chris- 
tian principle is consistent with commercial success. 
Thorou-hly interwoven with this spotless Chris- 
tian life,"wa^ that almost unbounded liberality 
which was so beautiful a trait of his character io 
all good causes, his hand was ever open, and his 
charity was not a mere impulse ; large as it was, it 
was systematic, and adapted skilfully to accomplish 
the ends he wished to promote. Whether it were 
the founding a Home for the poor emigrants, flock- 
ing in such numbers to Melbourne, erecting chap- 
els, establishing a Book Concern and a pubhc lib- 
rary, sustaining missionaries, aiding students for 
the ministry, helping the Lord's poor saints, succor- 
ing those who had been disastered in the financial 
vicissitudes so common at Melbourne, organizing 
schools, or rendering assistance to the families of 
the unfortunate, his gifts were always judicious, and 
thouo-h, sometimes, he submitted to serious personal 
privrtlons, rather than let the poor, or the cause he 
so much loved, suffer, yet he rarely, and perhaps 
never, gave unwisely. 

A life of such enterprise and commercial activity, 
so beneficent and fruitful in good works, and withal 
so self-denying and untiring in its Christian zeal and 
devotion, surely deserves to be put upon record for 
the encouragement of those who would fain tread in 
his footprints, and seek to follow his example, even 
as he followed that of his Divine Master. 

It is worthy of notice that while memoirs of 



I 



!l 



4 TNTEODUCnON. 

scholars, statesmen, military and naval command- 
ers, clergymen, physicians, jurists, and philosophers 
abound, there are comparatively few of merchants, 
and most of these are occupied with their mercantile 
career alone. Why should we not record the strng- 
eles and successes of one, who, while diligent in 
business, was also assiduous in laying up treasure 

in heaven? . 

We reioice to know that in our own time there is 
a constantly increasing feeling of obligation on the 
part of Christian men of wealth, our bankers and 
Inerchant-princes, that not only their money, but 
their lives and personal activities, should be conse- 
crated to Clirist, and that from banks and offices, 
from warehouses and manufactories, from stately 
mansions and beautiful villas, as well as from the 
humbler dwellings of the poor, there are now mar- 
shalling a host which no man can number^ fully 
armed and equipped for the service of the Captam 
of their salvation; i^ady for any sacrifice of time 
and money, and pei-sonal ease and comfort, so that 
they may do the will of their Master. 

Ii, the i?reat day of accounts, when the good and 
evil which men have done on earth during their lives, 
and the influence which their work and example has 
wrought after their death, shall be summed up, we 
believe it will be found that Walter Powell s emi- 
nently Christian life, amid the cares and trials ot a 
busuiess career, has been productive of great good 
to n,anv thousands whom he never knew here, but 
who will be among the stars in his crown of rejoic- 
in" in the Paradise of God. 



r({ 



i ! 



CHAPTER I. 

BOYHOOD AND ITS STRUGGLES. 

Though a stranger to England until his thirty- 
fourth year, Walter Powell first drew breath at Tot- 
tenham, near London, in May, 1822. His father 
had been a member of a highly respectable firm of 
merchants in London, still existing as Messrs. Henry 
Powell & Sons, Fenchurch Street, City; but the 
rapid increase of his family, and the commercial 
revulsions which fohowed tlie Napoleonic wars, had 
induced him to withdraw from the firm, and attempt 
some shorter route to wealth. He had removed to 
Southern Wales, and there attempted to accomplish 
his desires by several experiments in manufactur- 
ing; and these failing, either from lack of expe- 
rience and skill, or from an insufficient market, he 
had declined to accept a position as head manager 
of a large and lucrative business, and determined to 
emigrate to the distant and then newly opened 
colony of Yan Diemen's Land, or, as it is now called, 
Tasmania. Several of his friends had already gone 
thither, and Mr. Powell resolved to follow. It was 
during the farewell visit of the family to friends in 
London and vicinity that Walter Powell was born. 

" At that time," says Rev. Mr. Gregory, " the col- 
ony of Yan Diemen's Land was in its infancy. Al- 



\=r 



6 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



though that beautiful island had been discovered so 
long-ago as 1042, yet the first settlement upon it was 
made hi 1803, nineteen years before Mr. Fowell's 
immigration. Even then a spot so favored by Nat- 
ure, yet so long abandoned to the occupancy of 
savlges of the lowest type, was utilized by the British 
Government only as one of the cesspools of civiliza- 
tion, being chosen as a convict station for criminals 
of the worst class, a second time transported— first 
from England, then from Botany Bay. Barbarism 
and crime held joint tenancy of a land framed by 
the Creator to be the home of a happy Christian 
civilization. For ten years all comnnmication be- 
tween it and the rest of the world was interdicted, 
with the exception of Great Britain and New South 
Wales. In 1813, however, the ban was removed. 
The fii-st free settlers endured great hardships, being 
often unable to procure any other food than a little 
kangaroo flesh and a few sea plants, humorously 
called " Botany Bay greens." Even refuse blubber, 
washed on shore from the whalei-s after the oil had 
been extracted, was eagerly added to their scanty 
commissariat. The British public, however, gradu- 
ally became aware of the superior clanns of \ an 
Diemen's Land to the consideration of emigrants. 
They heard of the unrivalled deliciousness and 
healthiness of its climate, peculiarly favorable to the 
constitution of an Englishman, enjoying insular 
freshness, in a latitude corresponding to that ot 
Southern Italy. They read of the richness of its 
soil, suited to almost every production of our own 
fields and gardens, the varied picturesqueness of its 



\^i 



J 



- u 



BOYnOOD AND ITS STRUGGLES. 7 

landscapes, an Arcadian or Palestinian combination 
of plain and mountain, meadow and woodland, and 
brooks of water which run among valleys and hills, 
with the setting of a magnificent coast, broken by 
sheltered coves and ample harbors, that of Hobart 
Town being one of the largest in the world. The 
island is, in fact, a kind of antipodal Devon. '^ Som- 
ersetshire," says Sir C. W. Dilke, " cannot surpass 
the orchards of Tasmania, nor Devonshire match its 

fiowers." 

It was not till 1818 that emigrants in any consid- 
erable numbers sought this distant land of promise. 
At the time of Mr. Powell's immigration, the entire 
population of the colony, accx)rding to the census 
just before taken, amounted to seven thousand one 
hundred and fifteen. 

If the first layer of Tasmanian society was a 
coarse concrete of crime, the second was composed 
mainly of adversity and adventure. Resolute men, 
whose prospects in their native land were blighted, 
and whose way was built up or swallowed up, betook 
themselves to the goodly land which Providence had 
"espied" for them across the desert-deep. Amongst 
these came a few men of business who preferred 
colonization to clerkship. Of this class was the 
father of Walter Powell. He settled on the Mac- 
quarie plains, described as "a splendid alluvial 
valley, which for fertility and beauty of scenery can 
scarcely be surpassed." * He built for himself a 
mud-house of some pretensions, which, being double 

* Stoney's "Besidence in Tasmania." 



!|s=^ 



8 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



tlie height of the ordinary dwellings, and betraying 
the weakness of its constitution by a very marked 
obliquity, was humorously called a Pisa house, m 
allusion to the famous Italian leaning tower. There 
misfortune dogged him. Soon after his arrival at 
his forest home, he was prostrated by a severe and 
long-lasting attack of rheumatic fever, the penalty 
of unwonted exposure and exertion. AVhilst stretch- 
ed helpless in bed, bush-rangers broke into his cot- 
tage, and stripped him of almost all he had. This 
outrage, followed by the loss of a very valuable 
hoi-se, brought the family to the verge of ruin. 
The mother, an accomplished lady, tried to raise a 
little money by opening a school for the children of 
the scattered and struggling emigrants. In her let- 
ters to her friends in England, she confesses that 
the beautiful country and climate formed their 
only solace. Thus Walter Powell grew up amongst 
the worst hardships and dangers of a pioneer-settler, 
and the bitter mortifications of moneyless gentility. 
The aborigines showed towards the new-comers a 
Bkulking and ferocious enmity, setting fire to their 
homes and stacks, and making themselves altogether 
very dangerous neighbors, especially to those who, 
like Mr. Powell, lived at a distance from the towns. 
The relations of the natives and the settlers had at 
first been of the most friendly kind. The Tasma- 
nian savage was, while unprovoked, a good-humored, 
Bimple-liearted creature. His friendship seemed 
likely to be more troublesome than his enmity. 
Like the aborigines of New South Wales, the na- 
tives of Van Diemeu's Land were fond of squatting 



J 






H 



#" 



BOYHOOD AND ITS STRUGGLES. 



9 



in the neighborhood of the emigrants. But runa- 
way convicts, and others whom the governor had 
been compelled, from want of provisions, to send 
into the woods to find their own food, had perpe- 
trated upon the poor creatures the most diabolical 
atrocities. This naturally aroused in them a fierce 
determination to extirpate the new-comers, whom 
they began to regard as deadly enemies. The only 
mode of warfare which their rude weapons and 
savage strategy allowed was sly and detailed mur- 
der.*' They constantly lurked about the settlers' 
homes and fields, crouching, cat-hke, in the bushes. 
When discovered, they always appeared to be wea- 
ponless, having acquired the art of dragging their 
spears along the ground ; for they could use their 
toes as deftly as their fingers. They seemed to be- 
long to the order quadrumana, their feet and hands 
could exchange functions at the moment's need. 
On the whole, they were formidable enemies, mak- 
ing up by cunning and extreme dexterity in the 
preparation and use of their rude missiles, for the 
inferiority of their tools and the want of fire-arms. 
Their spears were straightened by their teeth, till 
they poised as perfectly as an English fishing-rod, 
and both these and their clubs they could send 
quivering through the air with terrible force and 
precision. Even their women, in procuring opos- 
sums and crayfish for food, had become incredibly 
expert, both in diving and climbing. The savages 
found a leader in the person of a clever villain, who 
went by the name of Mosquito. He was a native of 
Sydney, who, having been condemned to death for 



10 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



the murder of a woman, had hy perverted pity been 
reprieved and transported to Van Diemen's Land, 
where, by simulating repentance and reformation, 
he obtained his liberty, married a black woman, 
and organized a desperate attack upon the whites. 

These planned outrages commenced in 1823, a few 
months after Mr. Powell's arrival. The state of 
things was such, that tlie settlers in remote parts of 
the island were perpetually in bodily fear for them- 
selves, their wives, and their children. In the words 
of Mrs. Meredith, " A residence in this countiy was 
one long series of alarms, suffering, and loss, with 
the daily imminent peril of a fearful death, when 
every bush within spear-throw was a source of dan- 
ger; and to stray beyond the door-sill unarmed was 
nothing short of felo-de-se?'^ * Backhouse states 
that " there were few families in the island who had 
not sustained some injury, or lost some member, by 
the treachery of the aborigines. 

But far more savage than the savages were the 
bands of escaped convicts, who haunted the forests 
like demoniacs, devoting themselves to robbery, out- 
rage, and murder. Being men who in the lowest 
depth of penal discipline had found a lower deep, 
had baffled the utmost resources of punitive disci- 
pline, and had become as intolerant of their own 
lives as they were reckless of the lives of others, 
they had by desperate daring escaped the teeth of 
watch-dogs and the shot of sentinels, and found 
themselves provisionless in the gloomy woods, har- 



♦ "My Home in Tasmania," vol. i., p. 190. 



BOYHOOD AND ITS STKUGGLES. 



11 






dened, hopeless, maddened by hunger, reduced to 
cannibalism, and often preying upon each other. 
No wonder that they did not spare either savages or 
settlers, when they had them at their mercy. A 
neighbor of Mr. Powell, Mr. Alison, of Stramshall, 
on the Macquarie river, who had emigrated at the 
same time, and had in earlier life commanded a ship 
under Nelson at Copenhagen, sustained a fearful 
encounter with three of these men, who left him for 
dead on his own door-step. " Scenes had been en- 
acted or talked of in the presence of children which 
made them, when grown to manhood, hate the land 
of their birth, and fly to other shores." * Add to all 
this the frequent bush-fires, and the sudden, devas- 
tating floods to which the Tasmanian rivei^ are pe- 
culiarly liable, from the nearness of their sources in 
snow-capped mountains ; and one may form some 
idea of the multiform dangers amidst which Walter 
Powell's boyhood was passed. The lovely island 
w^as not yet Tasmania, but still Yan Diemen's Land. 
The then existing state of things corresponded to 
the doleful associations which the very name con- 
jured up to our boyish fancy — chains, and hopeless 
drudgery, and work under the whip, amidst hateful 
companionship. 

Yet the memories of his childhood exercised a 
very traceable influence upon Walter Powell's 
character. Having few playmates or schoolfellows, 
he grew into close companionship with nature. He 
became an intense watcher of the habits of insects 

* Dilke's " Greater Britain." 



n 



12 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



and forest birds, speudiug hours in an admiring 
study of their various modes of life. His chief as- 
sociates were the graceful emu, stately as a swan, 
comely in going as a he-goat or a king ; the gentle, 
soft-eyed kangaroo; the colloquial and consequen- 
tial cockatoo, with lemon-colored liead-dress, and 
vivid plumage, many-hued, glancing in the sunshine. 
Animal forms which seem to us so queer and abnor- 
mal, the wombat, etc., were those with which his 
childhood was most familiar. He loved to wander 
amongst the stately gum-trees, rising like cathedral 
columns, straight and round, for a hundred or a 
hundred and fifty feet without a branch, and 
crowned with feathery ft)liage ; and the superb tree- 
ferns with stems twenty feet in height. One of his 
favorite recreations was capturing these pompous 
cockatoos, as they levied contributions on his father's 
corn. 

One of the earliest forms of self-help which the 
young Tasmanian developed was the manufacture 
of his own playthings. There were no toy-shops on 
the Macquarie plains ; yet, wherever the European 
emigrant may pitch his tent, the game of marbles 
must sharpen the eyes, and exercise the finger skill, 
and bring out the acquisitive rivalry of his active 
lads. Walter and his brothers, having no smooth 
" stonies " or polished " alleys," were fain to make 
to themselves common taws of clay, rounded by the 
hand and hardened in the fire. One day, while su- 
perintending the latter process, Walter, then only 
five years old, watched his work too closely, and one 
of the heated pellets flew out of the fire, and hit him 



BOYHOOD AND ITS STRUGGLES. 



13 



il 

II 






in the wide-open eye, depriving it, for life, of all 
power of vision. 

Walter's only schoolfellows and playmates were 
his brothers and sisters, and the two or three set- 
tlers' children who came to his mother's scliool ; 
and the fields and woods were his playground. He 
had no education but that which his parents could 
find time to give him, before he was thirteen years 
old. Both being well educated, and very solicitous 
for the well-being and advancement of their chil- 
dren, his schooling w^as, to its small extent, thorough 
and refined. The very disadvantages and dangers 
of his position, through the goodness of God, and 
the sensitive watchfulness of his parents, liad a salu- 
tary effect on the formation of his character. As 
none but convict servants could be procured,'^ his 
moral surroundings, outside the nursery, w^ere of the 
most perilous description. But this redoubled the 
carefulness of his mother to compass him daily with 
moral supports and restraints. The education of 
young Walter's heart, of course, mainly devolved 
upon her. She impressed upon him high moral 

* At that time, the " assignment system " was in full opera- 
tion. So soon as a shipload of criminals reached the island, most 
of them were assigned to the various settlers, mainly as domes- 
tic servants and farm laborers. The principal objects of this 
arrangement were, to save the Government the expense of their 
keep and supervision, to utilize their labor for the advantage of 
the colonists, to break up the old criminal associations, to bring 
the prisoners into healthy contact with the orderly and industri- 
ous population, and thus give them the best and earliest chance 
of self -recovery. Their masters were required to find them shel- 
ter, clothes, and bedding, plenty of wholesome food in regulated 
rations ; and they found their own fuel in the woods. 



14 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



BOYHOOD AND ITS STRUGGLES. 



15 



principles and sentiments in the most permanently 
effective, because the most pleasant and interesting, 
manner. Almost everything was done at home 
which conld be attempted to awaken thought, to 
cultivate the affections, and inspire him with a rev- 
erence for principle and piety. This was his safe- 
guard against all that was coarse and corrupting iu 
his inevitable associations. There grew up in his 
heart a most reverent affection for his mother. Fil- 
ial love seemed his strong anchor to hold him to 
purity and truth. It was, throughout life, a cause 
of gratitude to him that he had escaped the con- 
taminating influences which encompassed him dur- 
ing his most impi*essible years, lie heartily wel- 
comed the abolition of the S3'stcm of transportation, 
although the colony suffered materially from the 
withdrawal of the troops and the great diminution 
in Government expenditure. Yet he was every inch 
of him a lad, a thorough child of the bush; and, 
like many other fine-natured boys, was a strange 
combination of thoughtful ness and daring, docility 
and passion. His sense of wrong or insult blazed 
out into uncontrollable wrath. Ou one occasion, 
this impetuosity of indignation very nearly proved 
fatal to himself and to another. Of course, the 
use of fire-arms was part of the primary educa- 
tion of a young Tasmanian emigrant. lie and his 
brother had gained permission for a day's shooting 
on a neighboring estate. The keeper, (as he is there 
called, the ovei-seer,) not being apprised of this, met 
the boys, and saluted them with a Greek fire of 
blasphemy and insolence, a genuine specimen of 



% 



convict billingsgate. The high-spirited lads, instead 
of soft answers and speedy explanations, being, most 
likely, stung to the cpiick by the questioning of their 
word, retorted on the rough ranger in his own tone. 
They had with them two splendid dogs, loved by the 
boys as almost members of the family. The keeper 
having spent his ammunition of abuse, and finding 
that the boys were not to be silenced or terrified by 
his tongue, divided between the dogs the contents 
of his double-barrelled gun. Walter, maddened 
with rage and pity, immediately levelled his ow^n 
piece at the keeper's head, and snapped the trigger, 
with full intent of avenging the death of his inno- 
cent dogs. Happily, the report which drew the 
keeper's attention to their presence had come from 
"Walter's gun, and his piece was unloaded. To the 
end of life, he reckoned it amongst his special mer- 
cies that he was thus saved from actual homicide. 

But though he passed in that young country a 
free, a buoyant, and a plucky childhood, his father's 
straitened means, and his mother's strained anxiety 
to provide for her large household the rough com- 
forts of a settler's home, awoke in him a precocious 
forethought, and a longing for the productive toils 
of manhood, that he might be helpful to his parents, 
and rebuild the shattered fortunes of the family. 
This feeling took such strong possession of him, as 
even to supplant his passionate love of nature and 
wild woodland freedom, inspiring him with a deep 
preference for the bustling activities of city life. 
Withal, his sensibilities were vivid, and his comba- 
tiveness abnormally developed. The principles of 



16 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



BOYHOOD AND ITS STRUGGLES. 



17 



muscular Christianity seemed to be, in his case, a 
part of natural religion. lie instinctively acted on 
tliat adaptation to the young of the morality of the 
Sermon on the Mount, whicli underlies the teachings 
of the " Tom Brown " school of theology : " If a 
boy smite thee on the one cheek, hit him on the other 
also. And if he compel thee to run a mile, make 
him run twain." Had he lost his life in such en- 
countei's, a martyrdom which lie more than once 
narrowly missed, he might have claimed canoniza- 
tion. In fact, he bore throughout life the stigmata 
of this bluff saintship. 

lie formed the fixed resolve of retrieving the for- 
tunes of the family by all-conquering energy and 
industrv. In i^riviuii: hcart-rooTU to this noble ambi- 
tion he laid the foundations of virtuous success. 
Thereby he entertained an angel " unawares." 

How different were the surroundings of his early 
childhood from those of a city or country boy in 
his native land ! His genuine independence of 
character, his marked individuality, and the strong 
simplicity, which is the very antithesis of tamencss, 
were, doubtless, traceable, in part, to the associations 
of his woodland home. Self-reliance, circumspec- 
tion, boldness, and frugality, were some of the valu- 
able lessons learnt in the mud mansion on the Mac- 
quarie plains. If he had not before him the dread 
of the pedagogue's ferule, he must keep a sharp 
lookout against the spear of the hlaclcey and the 
bludgeon of the bush-ranger. 

But this free, out-door life was of too brief con- 
tinuance. His eagerness to be helpful to his parents 



did not long remain ungratified. At that time, 1834, 
respectable youths, who could write a fair hand, 
keep simple accounts, and be trusted with sums of 
money, were very scarce in Tasmania. Hence, when 
only twelve years old, Walter obtained a situation 
as clerk, in the office of Mr. Francis Evans, mer- 
chant, in the port of Launceston, the northern capi- 
tal of the island. Launceston is beautifully situated 
at the confluence of the North and the South 
Esk, whi(;h form here the fine tidal river Tamar. 
It was even then a thriving town of great bustle 
and commercial activity, though bordered by the 
solitudes of the primeval forest. Its population at 
that time was over two thousand ; it quadrupled 
during the eleven years of \Yalter Powell's resi- 
dence there. One who was then living at Launces- 
ton has a vivid recollection of his appearance at 
that time, since, in a small and new community, 
every respectable arrival is an object of keen inter- 
est and inspection. He is described as very thin 
and thoughtful-looking. 

Here his position tended rather to deepen than 
to dissipate his habitual reflectiveness. Being the 
only business employe of his unmarried mastei*, who 
was frequently away from home, and took little in- 
terest in or notice of his taciturn boy-clerk, his sole 
companionship was that of a man-servant, who had 
" left his country for his country's good." The only 
incident which broke the monotony of his desk work 
here was the accusation of having embezzled a 
missing five-pound note. Without waiting to deny 
the charge, he ran home to his mother; who, re- 



18 



LIFE OF WALTEK POWELL. 



turning with liim, was met with an apology, and 
the information that, in her son's absence, the mis- 
placed sum had reappeared. 

His conduct on this trying occasion showed a 
marked advance in self-control from the day when 
he levelled his gun at the gamekeeper. Even yet 
he was not perfect, according to Lord Bacon's acute 
comment on the inspired maxim : " A soft answer 
turneth away wrath."—" This teaches, first, that an 
answer should be 7nade:' Doubtless Walter could 
not trust himself to speak. The recollection of his 
narrow escape from the guilt of murder must liave 
acted as a salutary check. Ilis steadfast resolve to 
devote himself to relieving the difficulties of his 
parents, and repairing the fortunes of his family, 
sealed his lips under this exquisite provocation ; and 
surely nothing can be more calculated to ignite a 
high-spirited ^ and high-principled youth than the 
sudden charge of theft. The instinct which im- 
pelled him at once to seek shelter in the counsels of 
his mother was equally honorable to both. 

He was condemned to this uncompanioned drudg- 
ery for three yeai-s. At the end of that period, tlie 
death of a rich relative closed his master's office, 
and Walter was transferred, with highly favorable 
testimonials, to a store in the same town, that of Mr. 
Bell, who had recently resigned a government ap- 
pointment, in favor of that which all the early ^ 
colonists regarded as much more lucrative, the busi- 
ness of an auctioneer. 

Here he practised at the desk those lessons of 
laboriousness which he had learnt in the forest 



) 



BOYHOOD AND ITS STRUGGLES. 



19 



> 



1 



I 



clearings, where, if anywhere, the proverb holds 
good — 

*' He that by the plough would thrive, 
Himself must either hold or drive." 

He kept steadily in view the object of his ambition : 
to rise in the world, and to raise his parents with 
him, by sedulously cnltivating those habits which 
alone, he knew, could entitle him to hope for that 
result. Yet, in the intervals of business, the wild 
spirit of the woods came back upon him, impelling 
him to feats of daring, agility, and strength. He 
bore to the grave several marks of serious injuries 
received in the performance of these risky exploits. 
A broad scar across his left temple was the memo- 
rial of one of his perilous hazards of field and flood. 
He was expert and fearless as a climber, leaper, 
swimmer, and diver ; in all the headlong gymnas- 
tics which seem so befitting a young borderer of the 
unclaimed wilderness. To one of these adventurous 
attempts was, doubtless, traceable his extremely 
precarious state of health throughout the remainder 
of his life, if not his comparatively early death. 
Although a spare stripling, his muscularity was 
highly developed, and he had acquired unbounded 
confiden(;e in his own agility and nerve. As he was 
obliged to pass a great part of his time with those 
from whom he could gain no mental or moral im- 
provement, he learnt from them all they had to 
teach — physical efficiency and animal courage and 
skill. Among the servants of Mr. Bell's establish- 
ment, was a sort of unprofessional Blondin, whose 



1 



\t 



20 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



achievements Walter was very ambitious to equal or 
outdo. One of these was to leap out of a swing- 
boat, such as are seen at fairs, whilst at its highest 
pitch of velocity. Walter, having often seen^this 
done, not only with impunity, but with ease and 
grace, concluded that what man had done man could 
do. lie took the spring, but missing the exact 
second, was caught by the returning oscillation, 
twisted violently, and tlirown to a great distance! 
The result was not only a severe shock to the ner- 
vous system, but an injury to the spine, inducing 
severe attacks of palpitation, and a decided stoop 
in his heretofore erect figure. 

These traits and incidents prove plainly that his 
characteristic considerateness and steadiness did not 
grow out of a tame temperament or natural timidity 
and self-distrust. One can scarcely help asking to 
what extent this occurrence contributed to the foi-- 
mation of his character. It can scarcely be called 
a casualty, being rather the penalty of over-hardi- 
ness. Whilst it aggravated his natural licriness of 
temperament into a morbid irritability, which be- 
came a sad trouble to himself, and, for a time, to 
those about him, it must have tended to tone down 
his overweening self-confidence, and could not but 
serve as a perpetual memento mori. 

Mrs. Bell records several incidents illustrative of 
his sensitive integrity, and the prompt, impulsive, 
and almost imprudent generosity, which contrasted 
^woi^ with the rigid regularity and close economy 
of his personal habits. One day, Mrs. i^ell, looking 
out of her window, saw Walter conversing with a 



BOYHOOD AND ITS STEUGGLES. 



21 



i 



person, who, on shaking hands at parting, slipped 
into his palm at parting a sum of money, which 
Walter instantly flung from him with flushed indig- 
nation. On inquiry, she found that the individual 
had asked Walter to do him a business service, the 
tnie nature of which was first betrayed by the ofter 
of money. The first payment he received in Mr. 
Bell's office was devoted to purchasing for his 
mother a sack of flour and a chest of tea. On 
another occasion, receiving a letter from his married 
sister, describing the distressing difficulties of her- 
self and husband, as pioneer settlers at Port Philip, 
he at once laid out the whole of his savings in pro- 
curing for them a dray and a pair of horses, and in 
defraying the cost of shipment. Nor was his sym- 
pathy confined within the circle of his own rela- 
tionship. A poor man lamenting to him the strait- 
ness of his means and the largeness of his family, 
Walter suggested the possibility of improviiig his 
circumstances by starting as a " dealer." The man 
replied hopelessly that the start required ten 
pounds; a sum which, in his state of hand-to- 
mouth dependence, he had no prospect of ever pos- 
sessing. Walter, seeing that his well-meant advice 
had served only to make the poor fellow more pain- 
fully sensible of his utter helplessness, immediately 
gave him the ten pounds, although his own salary 
was but one hundred pounds a year. 

In addition to many fine fruits of his mother's 
high moral culture, he had given several signs of 
religious thoughtfulness. Mrs. Bell was a member 
of the Wesleyan Church, and her husband devolved 



/ ; 



H 



22 



LIFE OP WALTER POWELL. 



on her the duty of conducting family worship. She 
was wont to read a portion of Scripture, and offer a 
short, extempore prayer. Wlien the young clerk 
joined the establishment, she so far yielded to the 
diffidence of her sex as to leave him unapprised 
of this godly usage of the family. On learning the 
fact, however, from the servants, he earnestly so- 
licited the privilege of attending, which the lady, 
despite her natural diffidence, was not able to re- 
fuse. This seriousness was further manifested by 
his evincing a preference for the more direct and 
searching ministrations of the Methodist chapel, to 
which he gradually attached himself, although he 
was a member of the choir at church, and was much 
cherished on account of his superior musical gifts. 

Here, then, is a young man of eighteen, the fos- 
ter-child of the forest, whose brief boyhood has 
passed in gentlemanly poverty, who has proved the 
hardness of straitened circumstances without their 
debasing humiliations, with whom correctness of 
conduct is not only the impress of the high morale 
of his secluded homestead, but also an element of 
good breeding, a bright badge of caste, amidst the 
helotry of crime. He has learnt self-help and self- 
reliance from the necessities of his position, self- 
respect and self-control from the glaring miseries of 
those who wanted both ; he has acquired physical 
fearlessness amidst a normal state of danger, and 
from the enforced companionship of men who had 
little else to teach; he is by temperament high- 
spirited, and feels in his veins the blood of an Eng- 
lish gentleman ; he is lovable, attractive, nmsical. 



BOTHOOD AND ITS STRUGGLES. 



23 



if 



He has in him " the makings " of a noble character. 
One cannot fail to feel some interest in this frank, 
generous youth, whom filial love has chained to the 
desk ever since he was twelve years old. What will 
become of him ? Will he make the best of himself, 
the best of life, the best of both worlds % 



CHAPTER II. 



HIS CONVEESION. 

The severe shock to his system and the serious 
spinal injuries which young Powell's mishap in his 
attempted gymnastic feat had induced, were loug 
concealed through fear of their effect upon his 
mother; but thetimefinally came when farther con- 
cealment was impossible ; he was very ill, and his 
life was imperilled from the injuries he had re- 
ceived, and his whole nervous system was so shat- 
tered that it rendered him excessively irritable and 
petulant. He went home in the hope of benefit, 
but, restless and unhappy, soon returned to Laun- 
ceston, it was feared, to die. 

His habits up to this time had been correct: he 
was well-disposed, energetic, persevering, free from 
the vices common to young men, liable, indeed, to 
occasional outbursts of temper on comparatively 
trifling provocati(m ; but, on the whole, a moral and 
well-bred young man. But as he stood face to face 
with death, and began to look beyond the narrow 
bounds of time, he began to see with far clearer 
vision than ever before, how imperfect and worth- 
less was his own righteousness ; how entirely inade- 
quate to his salvation were his best deeds, and that 
unless Jesus would undertake for him he must be 



HIS CONVERSION. 



25 



}' 



lost forever. He was not ignorant, theoretically, of 
the way of salvation. Though at his boyish home 
there were no churches or religious meetings, he 
had ever since his residence in Launceston been a 
regular attendant upon the services of the Estab- 
lished Church until a few months previous, when he 
had begun to go^to the Wesleyan chapel with Mrs. 
Bell ; li^t impossibly drawn thither, also, by hisregard 
for Miss Annie Bell, her daughter, who afterward be- 
came his wife. He had also been uniformly preseiit 
at family worship, and had listened to Mrs. BelFs 
fervent prayers for his conversion. 

Kow, however, for a long time he was unable to 
visit the house of God. There was just then be- 
ginning in Launceston that great revival which lasted 
eight years, and which was so all-pervading in its influ- 
eifce for good in Tasmania ; a work of divine grace 
in which all, high and low, the moral and exemplary 
free settler, and the most depraved and vicious con- 
vict, were pressing into the kingdom of heaven. 
This revival was confined to no denomination ; all 
experienced its blessed effects. Perhaps the most 
simple yet graphic descriptions of its power and ex- 
tent, are to be found in two interesting volumes 
written by members of the Society of Friends, who 
had been sent out thither by the English Yearly 
Meetings, and were eye-witnesses of the work of 

Divine grace."''' 

From any personal participation in this blessed 

* Backhouse's "Narrative of a Visit to the Australian Colo- 
nies," and "Life and Labors of George Washington Walker," 
both admirable works. 
2 



26 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



4^ 



season of refresliing, young Powell was at this time 
cut off by his illness. Ihit Ood, who is rich in 
nierey, had thoughts of love towards this poor friiil 
lad. It pleased llini to bring him into IJis king- 
dom and make him one of the pillai-s in the House 

of God. 

After a long struggle with wasting disease and 

racking pain, he began to improve, but very slowly 
at Urst, and still suffering from severe prostration 
and great depression of spirits. At that time Rev. 
Nathaniel Turner was the superintendent of the 
Launceston Circuit, a man of the most apostolic 
character and devotion, to whose trials, labors, and 
successes thousands of all denominations could bear 
testimony. He had labored first as a Home ^Jis- 
sionary in England, and in 1823 had accepted an 
appointment to New Zealand, where in the follow- 
ing year he planted the first AVeslcyan missionary 
station at Wcslevdale, in the midst of the Muories. 
After he had lived and toiled amongst them for 
more than three years, his house was attacked and 
burnt by a party of natives, his goods stolen, his 
dead (.-hild disinterred, and he and his wife and 
household, barely cs(;aping with life, fled by niglit 
to the Kerl-Keri, where, after hn-king for a while, 
they were picked up by a ship bound to Sydney. 
Mr. Turner subsequently labored in the Friendly 
Islands, where he remained until 1831, when his 
health broke down under excessive toils. After 
resting a few months in New South Wales, ho re- 
moved to Tasmania, wliere for five years he preached 
the Gospel with great success. In 183G, he re- 



HIS CONVERSION. 



27 



4 



turned to New Zealand, and devoted three more 
years to his old enemies, the Maories, and was then 
retransferred to Tasmania. Here his ministrations 
were remarkably successful. 

It was to this devoted servant of Christ, that God 
had committed the great privilege of bringing Wal- 
ter Powell to see the jjlague of his own heart and 
the efficacy of the blood of Jesus to save him from 
sin. He came to him while he was still looking 
death in the face, prayed with him, (conversed with 
him, showed him the value and worth of his soul, 
that soul for wliich Jesus had died, that soul from 
which the blood of Jesus alone could wash away 

sin. 

While the vouno: man trembled with awe and 
terror at God's power, at the unutterable value of 
his own immortal spirit, and its imminent peril of 
being forever lost, Mr. Turner led him to Christ ; 
taught him that God so loved not the woi-ld alone, 
but Walter Powell individually, that He had given 
His beloved and only-begotten Son, that he should 
not perish but have eternal life; that the gift of 
Christ was pei-sonal to him, if he would only be- 
lieve ; and opened to him the way of faith more 

perfectly. 

AValter Powell received this blessed message as a 
revelation from God, and walked forth from his 
sick room a changed and converted man. From 
henceforth, he was not his own, but Christ's. A 
change deeper and more searching than that wliich 
death is able to effect, a change pervading and 
permeating every fibre of his behig, his intellect, 






28 LIFE OF WALTKR POWELL. 

soul, and body, had passed over his spirit, and made 
him a new man in Christ Jesus. 

But though converted, he was not yet pe.fect 
The traces of the old hot nature, the -tlessuess of 
impaired health, the temptations to «"-. » -uf^^^^^ 
word, and deed, were still present -'^ '» "';' ^^; 
to the e.>d of life, he must struggle with the lem.uus 

°';;t:'r^erblessing to Walter Powell that the 
revivllof which we have already spoken, wluch 
pervaded all the Australasian Colon.es and contn - 
ed in Launceston at least, for eight pars, was s 
n pro-^ress, when "this miracle of hea n,g, th s 
restm-atlon of the body from apprehended death, 
Ind rescue of the spirit from the bondage of sm, 
and icscue i ^^epared to enter upon its holy , 

took place, lie was prep<iiLu ^ 

services and its sacred feasts with dc hght and the 
sea vd^n.^ discoui.es and exhortations then dehvered 
W hhn to an habitual and rigid self-examnuiUou 
a'fd elf-Lipline, which, though in a man of d.ffe - 
Zt mperament it might l-->f 'f .-J^^t 
pression and despondency, was, m '»"' '^ ^'^^ 
Ln of a substantial and very consistent and uiuto, m 
Xistlan life. His self-examination and self-di ci- 
Sne dW nottenninate in self; while it levealcd 
C im hi^ errors and faults, and led urn to be 

of help and pardon. ^nnceston was of a 

The ei-ht yeai-s' revival at Launceston vn 
Iiie eij^iit ^ Tasmanian standard 

cenninc and genial knid. lue xa< 

^ , „f fUo "free iiopulation, as lue 

of morals amongst the nee ^^^ 



HIS CONVERSION. 



29 



•^ ! 



non-convict inhabitants were called, was qnite as 
liigh as that of the mother country; the average 
intellectual culture was decidedly higher. The free 
settlers seem to have regarded external decorum as 
an indispensable badge of distinction between them 
and the criminal population, and they were mostly 
of the intelligent and oi-derly middle-class, men 
with less capital than brains and energy. Every- 
body's antecedents had to be closely scrutinized be- 
fore admission into respectable society. But the 
moral and religious condition of the convict popula- 
tion was appalhng, and the free population seemed 
intent on compensating themselves for their aban- 
donment of country and kindred and the disadvan- 
tages of their new position by the rapid realization 
of\ealth. The style of preacliing adopted by the 
missionaries may be gathered from Walter Poweirs 
diary. He kept a record of their texts, often add- 
ing an outline of their sermons. These were ad- 
mirably adapted to the circumstances and spiritual 
requirements of their audience ; e, g., " Sow to 
yourself in righteousness, reap in mercy, break up 
your fallow ground : for it is time to seek the Lord, 
till He come and rain righteousness upon you." 
" Because thou hast forgotten the God of Thy salva- 
tion, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy 
strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, 
and shalt set it witli strange slips : in the day shalt 
thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning 
shalt thou make thy seed to flourish : but the liar- 
vest shall be a heap in the day of grief and of des- 
perate sorrow." (Isai. xvii. 10, 11.) " Whoso cover- 



30 



LIFE OF WALTEPw POWELL. 



+ 



etli his sin shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth 
and forsakcth his sin shall lind mercy." "How 
shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?'' 
" I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to 

repentance." 

Mr. Backhouse gives the following specimen of 
this wise adaptation of the style of preaching to the 
circumstances of the hearers : " We had a meeting 
in the Wesleyan chapel, in which the people were 
reminded of the time when, by attending to the 
convictions of the Holy Spirit upon their own con- 
sciences, they perceived their h)st state ; and that 
their hearts were occupied by sin, when they were 
also brought to repentance, and found peace through 
faith in Christ ; made a profession of religion, and 
brought forth fruits of righteousness. This process 
was then compared with that of their taking pos- 
session of the land they are occupying, and clear- 
ing it, by felling and burning off the timber and the 
scrub, the natural and unprofitable produce of the 
earth, and fencing and cultivating the land. They 
were then desired to reflect upon the condition to 
which such land soon returns, if neglected ; and to 
consider how soon, according to their own knowl- 
edge, it again becomes covered with forest and 
scrub, so as only to be distinguishable from ' the 
wild bush ' by the remains of the fence. From this 
they were urged to remember that, without a con- 
stant care to keep their own hearts under the influ- 
ence of the Holy Spirit, they, in a similar way, 
would soon again l)ecome unprofltable, and over- 
grown with sin ; notwithstanding they might retain 



HIS COXVEKSION. 



31 



the appeai-ance of a fence against evil, in some re- 
maining profession of religion. This appeal was 
not without effect. One man acknowledged to us, 
that he w^as already sensible of some measure of 
relapse into the sinful state that had been spoken 
of." 

- Such were the subjects which these earnest men 
pressed home upon the consciences of colonists and 
convicts, whom they had followed to the ends of the 
earth for the one purpose of bringing them to God. 
Sabbath after Sabbatii they assaulted the " strong- 
holds " of immorality and indifference. Every 
successive sermon fell like the blow of a battering- 
ram upon the embattled mass of prejudice, insensi- 
bility, and evil habit. It could not but be that a 
vibration was communicated to the dead wall, which 
at length threw it off the perpendicular, and brought 
it to the ground. But it was not only the message, 
but the spirit and the manner of these devoted 
ministers, which told so effectively upon their hear- 
ers. They themselves never lost sight of the fact, 
and they never allowed the audience to forget it, 
that they had forsaken Fatherland, and tracked the 
outcast, the exile, and the emigi-ant, with but one 
object ; and that not the extension of a system, but 
the salvation of souls. Hence there was a fearful 
I'eality in their warnings, an impassioned ardor in 
their appeals, a tempestuous enthusiasm in their 
pleadings for Christ. They seized the hesitating 
sinner with an awful urgency, and put forth the 
utmost pressure of persuasion. They were like the 
tender-hearted angels, sent to snatch Lot and his 



32 



LIFE OF WALTEK POAVELL. 



family from tlie Bulphur-etorm of Sodom ; wlio 
wlion Lot lingered " laid hold upon his hand and 
upon the liand of his wife, and upon the hand of his 
two daughters, tlie Lord being merciful unto them ; 
and said, Escape for thy life ; look not behind thee, 
neither stay thou in all the plain ; escape to the 
•nountain, lest thou be consumed." 

But Walter Powell, though tlioroughly changed, 
struggled slowly into the clear light of the Gospel. 
There hnng about him for some months a percepti- 
ble gloominess and sadness. Tliis was, doubtless, 
partly owing to external causes. His health was 
Btill feeble and precarious. Many family matters 
tended to depress him. His father's business career 
was made up of flattering successes and dishearten- 
ing failures — fat years eaten up by lean. Then 
followed, in quick succession, the death of father, 
mother, and favorite sister. The "- shaft fell thrice." 
Then the tide of connnercial prosperity began to 
ebb apace. The stream of emigration to the new 
colony of Victoria, which, at iirst, had given a 
strong impulse to the trade of Tasmania, now began 
to drain the island of the sources of its wealth. The 
market for the staple commodities, wool and grain, 
became unprecedented ly depressed; many of the 
principal houses failed ; many more wxre in extreme 
difficulties; all were despondent and perplexed. 
Above all, the disease which had so nearly proved 
fatal, left behind it an extreme nervous irritability ; 
which, superinduced upon his natural warmth and 
quickness of temper, was the occasion of incessant 
self-conflict and self-reproach. But the deepest 



HIS CONVERSION. 



33 



mi 



source of his despondency was his difiiculty in real- 
izing Christ as his present and pei-fect Saviour, the 
ground of his happy relations with God, and the 
fountain of all spiritual strcngtli. At last, however, 
the darkness passed, and the true light shone ; and 
he began to live a life of faith on the Son of God, 
who loved him, and gave Himself for him. 

Immediatelv on his connectincr himself with the 
Church, he began that system of proportionate giv- 
ing by which he, for the rest of his life, '^ honored 
the Lord with " his " substance, and wdth the first- 
fruits of all" his "increase." Mrs. Bell as-ain re- 
lates : " Shortly after his union w4th the Church, he 
commenced reading the Bible through consecu- 
tively. On reaching the twenty-eighth chapter of 
Genesis, he was struck with Jacob's dedication of a 
tenth of all the Lord might bless him with to His 
own service. lie told me that he had determined 
to do the same." 

The commercial difficulties of the colony, at tliis 
period, touching as they did Walter Powell's em- 
ployer amongst the rest, brought out finely the nobil- 
ity of the young convert's nature. "Giving dili- 
gence," he added to " his faith virtue." A co-inmate 
of the house testifies: "lie put forth his utmost 
energies. He worked like a slave in the quantity, 
though not in the spirit, of his work. He would 
toil far into the night. He even went so far as to 
insist on the reduction of his own salary, as he saw 
that the business could not justify its present 
amount." He devotedly attached himself to the 
impaired fortunes of his principal, quietly replying 

a* 



34 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



to the admonitions of worldly wisdom, " I know 
that my employer is my friend, and that liis inten- 
tions towards me were liberal ; he took me when I 
was at a loss for employment, and I shall not leave 
him till I see him re-established." He undertook at 
the same time the work which had heretofore been 
divided between two. 

"Well done, good and faithful servant; thou 
wast faithful in a few things." This was the man 
who, when wealth came, knew how to make the 
best use of it. 



4 



CHAPTEK III. 

THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. 

Amidst this expatriated community, who were 
either working out their terms of penal servitude, or 
straining every energy to build up a fortune in as 
short a time as possible, young Powell was stren- 
uously working at and working out his " own salva- 
tion with fear and trembling ; " was building up a 
Christian character, and steadily and successfully 
educating himself for effective service in the Church 
of God, and for the nobler society and offices of 
heaven. 

Immediately upon his convei-sion, Walter Powell 
made it the one aim, anxiety, and ambition of his 
life to attain " the measure of the stature of the ful- 
ness of Christ " — in feebler modern phraseology, to 
be a thorough Christian. What appliances did he 
use to accomplish this object ? To what extent was 
he successful ? What exact tj^pe of Christian char- 
acter — so uniform in its basis, so multiform in its 
individual manifestations — came out from his spe • 
cial ])ersonality, acted upon by the special culture to 
which he was voluntarily subjected ? Happily, we 
have ample materials for answering these questions. 
Simplicity and earnestness put him upon a shrewd, 
business-like mode of conducting the affairs of his 



86 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



h) 



Boul, and suggested the obvious expedient of keep- 
ing a journal. 

This journal, in eleven folio volumes, admits us to 
his deepest confidence, and, allowing for occasional 
breaks, makes us familiar with his spiritual history 
and his daily occupations during the latter half of 
his life, the twenty-three years stretching from Janu- 
ary 7th, 1844, to November 13th, 1867. To those 
who knew Mr. Powell as a business man, this in- 
tense and persistent self-scrutiny seems prodigious. 
Let those call it morbid who can match its healthy 
and robust results. Doubtless, in conjunction with 
all his other labors, it shortened the earthly life 
which it intensified and refined. It was part of the 
reality and energy of his character. It is invalua- 
ble as enabling us to watch the unfolding of his 
spiritual life and to carry forward the context of his 
spiritual history. It shows, fii-st of all, the decisive- 
ness of his Christianity, how manfully he braced 
himself for the noble gymnastics of godliness, and 
the secret discipline of holy life. It proves the 
sincerity with which he had renounced a self-pleas- 
ing life, the steadiness with which he pulled up 
stream heavenwards, taking his bearings and noting 
his progress with keen-sighted accuracy. He could 
not bear a slovenly, indefinite mode of conducting 
the most important of all his affairs, the interests of 
his soul. He carefully notes slight relapses, sets 
himself to stub out " roots of bitterness," which 
"springing up" might "trouble" him, detects the 
swerving or the slackening of his will, any clouding 
of his conscience, or overcasting of his religious joys. 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. 37 



i 






His diary shows how day after day lays in another 
touch, and tones or fixes the coloring of his charac- 
ter. 

On the first Sunday in 1844, he commenced this 
" Journal," describing to himself its object on the 
fly-leaf : " With the view of recording events which 
may prove interesting in the future, and of correct- 
ing those failings and erroi-s which may be hinder- 
ing the writer's course." This diary was, in fact, 
simply an expedient of conscientious self-insi)ec- 
tion and self -culture. The purpose which we hope 
it will now serve, that of instructing and stimulat- 
ing others, and marking the gradual building up of 
a Christian manhood, obviously never entered the 
writers mind. The light in which he regarded it is 
seen from such entries as the followin<r. After an 
unusual hiatus, he writes, " Since the above lines 
were written, I have to lament my indifference to 
my journal, in having allowed nearly six weeks to 
elapse without recording many interesting events 
which have occurred during that period. May the 
Lord help me to persevere in constantly examining 
my heart, and noting my experience, and may my 
path be that of the just." Again, "More than a 
month has flown since I last wrote in my journal. 
It may be said in reference to this dutv, as has been 
said of prayer, ' AVhat various hindrances we meet!' 
and the old motto might also in this case be justly 
applied, ' Where there is a will there is a way.'" 
Again, " I know not how to write in this neglected 
journal. If it were not for the goodness of God, 
which leads me to repent, I could not bear the 



38 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



thought of committing the present fitate of my mind 
to paper. Oh give me u disposition and persever- 
ance to record Thy dealings with me continually ! " 
The entries manifest all the " simplicity and godly 
sincerity" whi(!h befit such mementos. We mnst 
quote a few of the earliest : 

"Sunday, January 7th, 1844. — I arose late this 
mornini]^, and felt c^reat condemnation in conse- 
quesice ; for we hold a prayer-meeting on Sabbath 
mornings, at six o'clock, for the purpose of suppli- 
cating God's blessing on our labors as Sunday-school 
teachers. I, by my slothfulness, lost this favorable 
opportunity. The more I teach childi'en, the 
greater impossibility! find in doing it effectually 
without first obtaining wisdom and simplicity from 
God. After being engaged in the school till twelve, 

I called on R. B , who was so reduced as not to 

be able to speak without fii'st wetting his tongue. 
He could not confidently say that God had pardoned 
his sins ; but he hoped so. May his faitli be so in- 
creased as to attain nnto * the hlessedness of the man 
whose transgression is forgiven and whose sin is 
covered!' In the evening, after service, the So- 
ciety entered into solemn covenant with the Lord, 
and the sacrament was administered by the Eevs. 
K. Turner and II. Gaud. People and ministers 
appeared solemnly and deeply affected. May the 
impressions not be like the morning cloud ! " 

"Monday, 8th. — Attended the love-feast this 
evening, and was refreshed. We all felt that * as 
iron sharpeneth iron, so doth the countenance of a 
man his friend,' and went on our * way rejoicing.' 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. 



39 



I 



I called again, with two friends, on U. B— -, who 
appeared drawing very near to death Our hearts 
were, for the first time, gladdened by his declarmg 
that he believed God had forgiven him. We prayed 
with the dying man. He expired still professing 
faith in his Redeemer." , . -. ^ 

" Tuesday, 9th.-The quarterly watch-night was 

^'i Wednesday, lOth.-A few of the ^^unger 
brethren were constrained to offer the Rev. K Tur- 
ner a token of our gratitude. Reading Archbishop 
Jeffries' Charges 'Against Custom and I ublic 

^^' Tuesday, January IGth.-Attended as clerk, Mr. 
Bell's sale of land. Was struck with the covetous- 
ness which exhibited itself in my heart, in wishing 
to obtain that which could have proved of no use to 
me Thomas Blackleach roused me from my dream 
by reminding me that we should soon have to part 
with all earthly possessions. I know that my life is 
especially uncertain." ^ 

The lollowing entry illustrates the simplicity and 
sweetness of his child-like confidence in God. A 
lonely ride through the bush, in 1844, when he 
bush-rangers were perpetrating the most horrible 
atrocities to which suffering and despair could drive 
escaped convicts carried away by demoniac passions, 
required no little courage. . , , . 

- Wednesday, I7th.-Was at Longford, havmg set 
out on the Tuesday evening. I felt great confidence 
in the God of Providence while riding, for I knew 



40 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



that the hairs of my head were all numbered. I 
felt that ' a horse is a vain thiun; for safety.' " 

The next extracts indicate his decision of charac- 
ter, the often-foiled but never-intermitted struLji^le 
to be wholly the Lord's. Alluding to a popular and 
fashionable amusement of which he had heretofore 
been passionately fond, he writes : 

"January 19th. — I am truly grateful that I feel 
no disposition to mingle in those things which do 
not belong to my peace. I felt grateful to my Re- 
deemer that, although my feet were once swift in 
following a multitude, they now are turned unto 
the way of His testimonies. Felt at the (;lass-meet- 
iuij that an hour in the service of God is worth a 
whole life spent in those occupations which would 
monopolize the name of pleasure. Must lay to 
heart a remark of our leader that we can teach far 
more by our conduct than by precept. Oh that there 
were more of good silent practice ! " 

On this point, a gentleman, who lived in constant 
intercourse with him at that time, writes thus : 
"We both had to work hard, and had longjiours. 
We neither of ns allowed ourselves to seek pleasure 
for pleasure's sake. Dancing, etc., we regarded as 
worldly, and partaking of sin ; therefore to be 
avoided by those who had to work out their salva- 
tion. I can only recollect going out with him on 
one excursion partaking of the nature of pleasure- 
seeking, and this was bathing with three or four 
others. He only could swim. I was impressed 
then with his sweet unostentatiousness, under cir- 



^ 



THE DEVELOPl^IENT OF THE CHKI6TIAN LIFE. 41 

cumstances offering to a young man temptation to 

pride and display." TTnrriq'a 

^"Sunday, 21st.-I continue reading Harns 8 

^ Mammon.' I intend, by the grace a"^ .^^--"f ^^^ 
God to put some of its advice into practice, feeling 
eonv'inced that no man can serve two masters; and 
bow possible it is to worship ido s, and -t know . 
Mr II Reed * preached this day, or rather dis- 
coursed, on the duties of parents, children, and ser- 

vants." - 1 • 1 1 „« 

" March 27th.-The part of this month which has 

BOW passed away forever I cannot look back upon 

with satisfaction. Through the press of business, 

my mind has been constantly in a state of nervous 

excitement, and even to this my little jonrnal I 

could not settle down steadily enough. How hard 

it is to continue steadfast in any pursuit ! 1 et the 

men who have risen to eminence are those who were 

persevering. I find that my little journal was 

nearly falfing to the ground for want of this virtue. 

So difficult it is to bring the mind to examine past 

circumstances. They appear to have little interest 

in one's eager anticipation of the future. Lord, help 

me so to number rruj days, that I may apply my 

heart unto wisdom." 

" April 22d.— In the evening attended the prayer- 
meetincr. Was strengthened, but afterwards much 
condemned, for yielding to^^ bad temper towards 
some members of the family." 

"April 23d.— Received a letter from my best 

* His future London partmer. 






42 



LIFE OF WALTETJ POWELL. 



•i 



earthly friend, cautioning me, with much Christian 
kindness and love, against yielding to iny niorose- 
Tiess of disposition. I know the grace of Gcd is 
alone sufficient, and to llini nnist 1 apply for the 
utter expulsion of this unchristian tendency." 

" 24th. — At a sale. Found the conversation, 
jokes, etc., of a most corrupting nature. Oh that I 
may ever watch and pray for that grace which will 
enable me to withstand, when the enemy comes in 

like a flood ! " 

'' Sunday, 28th.— This morning, I grieve to say, 
was partly lost through slothfulness. I made a 
resolution, and prayed for Divine grace to enable 
me to overcome this evil habit. Felt very happy in 
teaching the children." 

" Monday, 29th.— How soon do the impressions 
of the Sabbath vanish ! Ought it to be so ? Will it 
always be so ? Oh no ; blessed be God ! I feel de- 
sirous that they may never be effaced, and yet I 
liave this day yielded to temptation, and fallen into 
Bin ; but the Lord graciously restored me at the 
prayer-meeting, so that I could say, ' Whom have I 
in heaven but Thee ? and there is none upon earth 
that 1 desire beside Thee.' " 

" April 30th.— Employed two or three hours this 
day in finishing a little work, entitled ' The Maid 
of the Ilathy.' Although rather high-colored, it is 
still much to be admired, and eminently useful as 
showing the delusiveness of this world. Give me, 
Lord, the enditring riches ! " 

" May 11th.— I regret that I have neglected the 
duty of posting up this journal But as this small 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHPaSTlAN LIFE. 



43 



i 



r 



duty tend3'to an examinatum of my coT>duct dnnns 
each day, and I am fully conscious of the uecess.tj 
of exanmung my deceitful heart, I w, 1, by Gods 
.race, press forward, and, feeling the "-^-''"^y 
li my own efforts, continually p-ay for '^the Spu-.t 
of power, of love, and of a sound mind 

" Sunday, 12th.-I did not rise early enough to 
attend our teache.-s' prayer-n>eeting, and my heart 
condemned me for suffering sloth to overcome me 

" May 16th.— In most of my duties I fand it Haia 
to do one thinsr at a time. I lind the like difcculty 
in reading. Instead of cleaving to one book, 1 open 
several, and thus my mind, in place of instruction, 
reaps confusion. But these things must be over- 
ooine. All, hy watchfulness and j>rayer, will be 

set righV .,_., ., 

" May 1 7th.— Attending sale at Evandale. W hile 
there, neglected an opportunity of showing a sinner 
the wickedness and danger of swearing. I felt rny 
mind darkened, and was sorely grieved ; but, at the 
class-meeting, I was enabled to cast my whole soul 

upon God. . , ^ „ 1 

" 21st.— Attendedii sale, and was surprised to hn<l, 

notwithstanding my seasoning to such scenes, that I 

got much e-Kcited while bidding for some of the 

property." 

« June 17th.— Eave been encouraged by reading 
the Life of Samuel Hick, and, at the same time, 
greatly humbled in comparing his fideliiy with my 
own unfaithfulness. An unlettered blacksmith, the 
means of bringing many souls to the Saviour and of 
stirring up believers by his example and exhorta- 



# 



44 



LITE OF WALTER POWIXL. 



I. 



tioiis ; having ' bowels of mercy ' and kindness to 
the poor and afflicted, a burning zeal for his Master, 
and a persevering love for the souls of men ; nu- 
daunted in every branch of Christian duty. O Lord, 
make me like him ? " 

" ISth. — Longford. Spent the whole of the day 
in reading, writing, and walking. 1 find the calm, 
peaceful, silent country very soothing and salutary. 
One feels a strong disposition to get away from the 
bustle and ' strife of tongues ; ' from ' the filthy 
conversation of the wicked.' Yet, while we stead- 
fastly set our face against these things, we nmst not 
Beek by solitude to evade duty and flee from the 
cross. Lord, help me to take up the cross and 
despise the shame." 

*'June 22d. — Found my mind much weighed 
down during the latter part of this day, but was 
revived by reading a few remarks of the Eev. John 
Fletcher, whose life I am reading. I was tried 
abont my conversion — was it a true one? Hate 
old things passed away, and are all things be(;ome 
new? I believe I can say, with sincerity. Yes. But 
a new question arose, and I must place it before my 
minister on the first opportunity. I must also not 
neglect to lay the matter before the Lord. It was 
this : What has been the character of yonr repent- 
ance ? Was it scriptural ? Did yon not, Jirst, resolve 
to serve God from a dread of future punishment? 
Yes. Have you not, since you were justified by 
faith, often sinned against God ; and, when you did 
BO, did not 3- our sorrow for sin arise, j)artlf/, at hav- 
ing fallen from grace, and partly from a dread of 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF TnE CnRISTIAN LIFE. 45 

God's displeasure; and ought yon not to sorrow 
only from a sense of having grieved your Saviour, 
after the sacrifices He has made ? By these thoughts 
my mind was much exercised, and my own opinion 
is that the genuine spirit of repentance is well ex- 
pressed by Wesley's hymn,— 

" ' Which grieves at having grieved its Lord, 
And ne\^er can itself forgive.' 

Eepentance, as it seems to me, is well exemplified 
in the Prodigal Son. He acknowledges his sin 
with grief, avows that he is no more worthy to be 
called a son, and requests to be received as a hired 
servant. Oh for the true poverty of spirit, the teel- 
iiig described by Ezekiel ! ' Then shall ye remember 
your own evil ways, and your doings that were not 
good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight 
for your iniquities and for your abominations.' " 

Yet the "first resolve " of the Prodigal sprung 
out of the sharp sense of misery and immediate dan- 
ger : " /perish:' The discovery of danger awoke 
the consciousness of gnilt ; and the lower feeling 
was not lost in the higher until reconciliation was 
complete. Thus faith, and even assurance, is nec- 
essary to the perfection of true penitence ; it can- 
not take that refined and lovely form in which Wal- 
ter Powell justly recognizes " the bright consummate 
flower" of evangelical repentance, until it bursts in- 
to bloom under^the glow of God's forgiving love; 
as Ezekiel again teaches : " Tliat thou mayest re- 
member and be confounded, and never open thy 
mouth any more because of thy shame, when lam 



46 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



i 



pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, 
saith the Lord God." But Avhat earnest Christian 
has escaped the temptation to doubt the reality of 
his past experience ? 

"June 25th. — Spent the afternoon with Mr. 
Eggleston, and consulted him as to the best method 
of studying the Holy Scriptures. He advised ine 
to form a Biblical Commonplace Book, with an In- 
dex of doctrines, duties, promises, etc., and to arrange 
all passages, as I come to them in continuous read- 
ing, under their respective heads. For example, to 
have a leaf head'id ' Atonement,' and to place under 
that word all passages referring to tliat truth of 
Eevelation ; others headed ' Sln^ ' Repentance,' 
*Envy,' < Resurrection,' etc. I know that this will 
require much wisdom, but I must do my best, keep- 
ing in view that promise, ' If any of you lack wis- 
dom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men 
liberally and uj)braideth not, and it shall be given 
him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.'" 



,»di 



I 

M 






CHAPTER IV. 

THE HARMONY OF HIS SPIRITUAL AND SECULAR LIFE. 

As it is our purpose to trace through all its earlier 
stages the formation of Mr. Powell's charactei*, both 
in its spiritual and secular aspects, we shall be par- 
doned for introducing some further extracts from 
Mr. Powell's journal illustrating this point. The 
solid foundation of heart piety and faith in God on 
which he was rearing the edifice of his life, the 
careful scrutiny wliich he exercised over every act, 
thou£^ht, and word, and the resolute determination 
to overcome the errors he discerned, account sufii- 
ciently for the strength, breadth, and elevation of 
his subsequent experiences. There is a wonderful 
charm, an instructive lesson, in these resolute, simple- 
minded efforts of an ailing, overworked clerk of 
two-and-twenty summers, to realize in his own life 
the Christianity of the New Testament. For Chris- 
tianity is a life in both senses of the word—a prhi- 
ciple of life* and a course of life. Many religions 
men of business, members of Christian Churches 
and generous supporters of Christian Institutions, 
lavish of their money in the promotion of the pub- 
lic interests of the Gospel, would willingly make 
almost any sacrifice to lose a certain uneasy sense 
of incongruity between their secular and spiritual 



f l'^-^hYlliaTn«i«r»iTltlMlr 



48 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS SPmiTUAL AND SECULAR LIFE. 



49 



f 



course. There is but cue way in which the Chris- 
tian and (ionnnercial life can be bronglitinto perfect 
harmony; and that is the way whicli Mr. Powell had 
adopted, in obedience to the Master's own instruc- 
tions: *'Seek ye first tlie kingdom of God and His 
righteousness." 

Had not Walter Powell acquired in youth this 
habit of unflinchinix self-investi^jation, he must 
have encountered disheartening difficulty in the 
attempt to form it amidst the whirl and weariness 
of after life. Benjamin Franklin attributed what- 
ever he enjoyed of the serene happiness which 
flows from moral healthiness to the "little 
artifice" of keeping a diary, in which he noted 
down his failures on any point even of minor 
morality. The like "little artifice" was of equal 
service to Walter Powell in the cultivation of 
spiritual-mindedness. It was thus that he acquired 
and preserved that keen and delicate sensitiveness 
of conscience which he manifested throucrhout his 
business life. As surely as "idle people give them- 
selves most trouble," so surely is a self-sparing tem- 
per a self-disturbing temper. To spiritual health it 
is absolutely necessary that we should live by rule, 
and consequently that we should have a rule to live 
b}^, and statedly compare our daily life with this 
rule. Without it our whole spiritual constitution 
must and will become relaxed. Self-neglect is as 
fatal to the soul as to the body. We see, as we 
glance at young Powell's journal, how frankly he 
admits, and how resolutely he fights, the failings to 
which he had fcmnd himself most liable, and how 



sedulously he treasures all the instruction he can 
gather from whatever sources. 

"Longford, Sunday, July 7th.— Mr. Eggleston 
preached in the evening, from, ^low shall we 
escape, if avc neglect so great salvation?' He 
^sliowed the greatness of the salvation offered, its 
infir.te cost, the glorious nature, human and Divine, 
of Ilim who procured it for us, its perfect sufficiency 
and effectiveness, the almighty agency by which it 
is made available and actual in individuals. He 
then pointed out the hopelessness of escape if it be 
nejrlected: this beino- the only possible oi)ening; 
since had there been any other conceivable way of 
escape from the loss of the soul than by such a 
death of such a Being as Christ, that could never 
have been resorted to. He exposed the folly and 
madness of indolently and insolently trusting to 
God's mercy, whilst neglecting its highest possible 
manifestation, and doing Respite to the Spirit of 
Grace.' He plainly and powerfully proved that 
nedectine: this salvation entails final destruction, 
since no other way of escape is possible ; and that 
life everlasting is the certain consequence of our 
freely and fully accepting it. May I more and 
more feel the value of, and evince my gratitude for, 
this great salvation I " 

" 12th. — While I am not unmindful of the great 
salvation my Saviour has accomplished, I am as- 
tonished at the unbelief and indifference I find still 
existing within me. If ray eyes are not constantly 
lifted up unto ' the hills from whence cometh my 
help,' I shall be rapidly carried back to the horrible 
8 



50 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



abyss of stupid negligence, as to mj eternal inter- 
ests, from which I have escaped. I must put on 
the whole armor of God in order to withstand my 
foes. But I am thankful that Christ has said, ' My 
grace is sufficient for thee, My strength is made 
perfect in weakness ; ' and the blessings I most want 
are suspended on simple conditions : ^ Ask, and ye 
shall receive.' " 

Alas! many another earnest Christian is, like 
young Powell, " haunted by tlie self of other days, 
which seems to rise up as a spirit of darkness, and 
cast a spell upon him, and fix him with its eye." 

"13th. — Having heard of the unjust or, ratlier, 
unkind treatment of a beloved friend in a trifling 
matter, I found Satan quite i-eady to fill me with 
feelings and thoughts neither accordant with the 
Apostle's language, * Charity suffereth long and is 
kind,' nor with my Saviour's direction, * Pray for 
those who despitefully use you.' Oh may I always 
bring my feelings to the test of Scripture, and may 
every thought be brought *into captivity to the 
obedience of Christ ! ' " 

"Wednesday, 17th.— The Eev. W. Butters 
preached on the necessity of Christian watchfulness. 
I mournfully proved \\\q importance of the admoni- 
tion ; for, on going home, I entered upon a discus- 
sion relative to a trifling subject, and so gave way 
to anger as to grieve the Spirit of God. May the 
Lord have mercy on one so unworthy, and grant 
that I may again feel the unclouded light of His 
countenance ! " 
How could young Powell know that he had 



i 



T 

J 



1_ 



HIS SPIRITUAL AND SECULAR LITE. 



51 



grieved the Spirit of God? By the perceptible 
abatement of the " consolations of God," of which 
he was habitually conscious. 

"August 10th.— Went to Eoss in order to stay a 
short time with Mr. Jackson, a most Christian- 
hearted man, earnestly aspiring after the mind that 
was in Christ, and endeavoring to walk as He also 

walked." 

" 29th.— Joined a class formed by the Eev. W. 
Butters for the mental improvement of the young 
men connected with the AVesleyan Society." 

"Sunday, September 1st.— Again visited at their 
homes the children of my Sunday-school class. 
After the evening service partook of the Sacrament 
of the Lord's Supper. Lord ! may I live morfe to 
Thee, for Thee, and in Thee." 

Sometimes, instead of noting his experience, he 
would wisely solace and enliven himself b}^ para- 
phrasing some passage of Scripture ; for amidst all 
his struggles he was buoyant enough to " relish ver- 
sing." These lines often show no contemptible 
power of versification, but are chiefly remarkable 
for cleanness of workmanship and vigorous com- 
pression. 

" Sunday, 8th.— Felt painfully my weakness and 
ignorance in endeavoring to teach my class in the 
Sabbath-school. O gracious Lord, have mercy on 
me, their teacher, lest, after instructing ' others, I 
myself should l)ecome a castaway.' 

"In the evening, Mr. Eggleston preached on the 
Eich Man and Lazarus. He called attention to the 
fact, that the rich man was not a miser or morose. 



52 



LIFE OP WALTEB POWELL. 



Otherwise the friends of Lazarus would not have 
laid him there ; nor had his treatment of Lazarus 
pressed on his awfully awakened conscience ; nay 
had there been no kindly relations between him' 
and Lazarus, he would have been the last person to 
ask to leave Abraham's bosom to alleviate his suffer- 
ings. He would not have even dared to mention 
his name, for that name must have inflamed his 
tongue. The rich man's fatal sin was that of his 
brethren ; he had not so lelieved Moses and the 
Prophets as to be persuaded to love the Lord his 
God, with all his heart, and mind, and soul, and 
strength; and his neighbor as himself. He had 
neglected to consider that ' that which is hi^rhly 
esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of 
God,' the fact which our Lord especially designed 
to illustrate. (Luke xvi. 15.) " 

" 14th.— During this month I have been readinc^ 
the Life of Dr. Adam Clarke, and have been par- 
ticularly struck with his great industry and perse- 
verance. His labors were so gigantic, that a person 
of average energy might be appalled at their 
vastness. He redeemed the time. He secured 
thousands of hours, which are generally wasted. Oh 
that his example may be followed by me ! " 

'' Sunday, September 15th.— The anniversary of 
the Sunday-school in which I am an unworthy 
teacher. Mr. Eggleston's text was, ^But godliness 
IS profitable unto all things, having promise of the 
life that now is, and of that which k to come.' He 
described the character of true godliness, and the 
extent of its operation; its vitality, its necessity; its 



HIS SPmiTUAL AND SECULAR LIFE. 



63 






profitaUeness for the present life, as conducive 
directly to bodily health, tranquillity, harmony and 
healthiness of soul. He contrasted the profitless 
and expensive amusements and indulgences of the 
world with the solid happiness given to the godly, 
'without money, and without price.' Having 
proved its cheapness^ its soundness, its utility, as to 
the life that now is, he dwelt ou its incalculable ad- 
vantages as the only means of securing the life that 
is to corned 

" Saturday, 21st. — During the past week I have 
been led to examine myself minutely, but I fear 
very imperfectly, from the fact of my memory 
being confused, and from a dull, trying pain which 
always dwells in my head, in a greater or less de- 
gree. Nevertheless, I have been able to discover, 
that if my hours were differently arranged, I should 
have much more time to attend to those duties which 
would enable me, to a far greater extent, to dis- 
charge my obligations to God and man. I grieve 
to fiud myself such a slave to habits thoughtlessly 
acquired. 1 do not retire to rest at the proper time ; 
consequently I do not rise early enough to commune 
with God, and then take the necessary bodily exer- 
cise. The result is, I am each hour striving to catch 
up the arrears of work left by the preceding, and 
thus body and mind are unduly, unnecessarily, and 
injuriously strained, burdened, and excited, and un- 
fitted for the vigorous discharge of the duties in- 
cumbent upon me ; and I am not able to maintain 
that serene, steady, faithful, thoughtful, fervent walk 
with God, which befits the believer in Jesus. I 



54 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



niS BPIRITUAL AND SECULAR LIFE. 



55 



i: 



Bincerely trust, and pray witli great anguish of heart, 
that this my monrning for past transgressions may 
not be in vain, but that my conduct may show that, 
by His grace re-enforcing my resohitions, I have 
been enabled to break through this cruel bondage 
of habitual procrastination. Lord, have mercy upon 
me, and upon all in the like slavery, for the Saviour's 
sake!" 

" Sunday, November 15th.— Was enabled to rise 
before five, and attend the prayer-meeting." 

"Sunday, January 5th, 1845.— Eenewal of the 
Covenant and Sacrament. On looking back upon 
tlie past year, I cannot l)ut bo grateful to tlie Father 
of all my mercies. My progress in the Divine life 
is very unworthy of my privileges. Twice have I 
been raised from the bed of sickness, with a resolve 
to forsake all and follow Christ, and yet here am I 
at the present almost fainting in my Christian 
course. I humbly trust tliat, if spared through 
another year, I may find it one of ardent devotion, 
of yeanling compassion for my fellow-sinners, of 
dedication of all to Christ, and of conscientious 
stewardship." 

" 15th.— Have been reading the ' Life of the Rev. 
Theophilus Lessey.' The wealth which he accpiired 
was of the right kind. Convinced that no man can 
serve two masters, he early forsook the service of 
Mammon, foreseeing that the only wages that the 
god of this world can afFord is 'death.' " 

" March 4th. — I have reason gratefully to record 
this day. It is one the importance of which eternity 
alone can fully disclose — my marriage-day. What 



I 



a happiness that we both are endeavoring to walk 
in the way of life, and, I believe, each anxious for 
the other's spiritual welfare! We became con- 
vinced of our fallen condition through the same in- 
strumentality. May the gracious God enable us to 
love each other as He in His own Word commands 
us, and by that Word may our whole course of lite 
be guided ! Mr. Butters conducted the service most 
impressively. My sister Eose and AVilliara and 
Frederick were also present, and my bandmates 
Bonner and Denny. As to myself and dear wife, 
we feel determined to work for God, and devote our 
all to Him. We feel that we are stewards, and as 
such are required to be ' faithful.' We are con- 
vinced of our own helplessness, our utter need of 
the teaching and guidance of the Holy Spirit. We 
know that our Redeemer requires us to economize 
our means, to exert all our energies in His cause, to 
take up our cross daily and follow Him. These re- 
quirements would drive us to despair, had not our 
Lord promised all-sufficient grace." 

Walter Powell's principal had given the highest 
proof of his confidence in the virtues and the busi- 
ness qualities of his young clerk, by accepting him 
as his son-in-law. He states—" Although so young, 
the public impression of Walter's integrity and 
judgment was such as to be often of no slight ser- 
vice to me. Whenever any disputes arose in the 
course of business, a word from Walter was like 
* an oath for confirmation— the end of all strife ; ' 
the objecting party would at once yield, saying, ' If 
Mr. Powell says it is so, I must be wrong.' " 



66 



HIS spmirrAL and secular life. 



57 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



"Sunday, IGtli.— -Mr. Eggleston preached from 
James i. 25 ; on the law of God, its threatenings, 
promises, requirements, privileges, and its direct 
bearing on every department of liuman life — the 
necessity of looJcing into it with intense regard and 
unwearied application, like the cherubim, bending 
over the Mercy-seat, beneath which the law was hid, 
< desiring to look into ' it through that medium. lie 
warned us against uninterested hearing and reading 
of the Word of God." 

These notices of the preaching of the Wesleyan 
missionaries show that they were not mere ranting, 
red-hot revivalists. They reasoned out of the Scrip- 
tures. It was the moral momentum with which they 
threw out these plain truths, and the explosive in- 
tensity of their own personal conviction, which 
made pi^ejudice "pass away with a great noise," 
and insensibility " melt with fervent heat." They 
did not let the AYord fall softly on the pulpit cush- 
ion, or pass over their audience like a cooling cloud, 
whicli temi>ers the burning beam to the weary trav- 
eller, but does not startle the loiterer with menace 
of a thunder-storm. 

" April 27th.— I have had to keep a jealous eye 
over my own heart, during the last month, lest 
covetousness should gain a foothold in it, and I 
should become ensnared in things ih^i jperish in tJie 

using?'* 

" Sunday, June 22d.— Mi\ Reed preached on re- 
pentance in believers, from the several addresses to 
the Seven Churches. He showed that our situation 
was in one respect like that of the Church at Per- 



gamos ; for surely in this land ' Satan's seat is,' since 
for deeds of crime this country has been scarcely 
ever equalled. He urged the consequent necessity 
that Christians should be pre-eminently zealous, 
watchful, and holy. 'Lord, how long' shall this 
state of things continue ? " 

There is one point touched on in the preceding 
extracts which it may be well to glance at for a 
moment. Young PowellV journal shows that his 
own single-mindedness, as well as the rules and 
teachings of the religious community to which he 
had attached himself, decided for him a question 
which confronts every earnest Christian at the out- 
set of his religious coarse; namely, the practical 
bearing of certain gaieties upon the daily cultivation 
of spiritual-mindedness. Relaxation is a necessity 
imposed upon us by the Creator, and is therefore an 
obligation. The need and the duty of frequent, 
thorough recreation are in proportion to tlie strain 
which a man's pursuits put upon his energies. The 
hard worker must have effective amusement, and no 
man works so hard as he who combines with an 
eager devotion to business assiduous mental and 
spiritual cultivation. Hence no practical and ex- 
perienced men have ever condemned amusements 
wliich really accomplish their purpose — to " renovate 
the spirits, and restore the tone of languid nature " 
— without any over-balancing evil, physical, moral, 
or spiritual. Mr. Powell felt bound to avoid di- 
versions which have a strong tendency to become 
dissipations, and thus defeat the real object of an 
amusement, being prejudicial rather than conducive 



«♦ 






■i. 



58 



LIFE OF WALtER POWELL. 



HIS SPIRITUAL AND SECULAR LIFE. 



59 



to bodily, intellectual, and spiritual health. The 
Puritan worthies of the seventeenth century con- 
demned dancing, and yet noted down in their diaries 
their games of billiards, side by side with tlieir 
spiritual struggles and successes ; and with perfect 
consistency, because, in their day, dancing had be- 
come unsafe and unseemly in its associations, and 
in its customary mode of indulgence was connected 
with and provocative of unquestionable evils; 
whilst billiards were not, as they now too often are, 
associated with drinking, gambling, and late hours. 
We have seen that young Powell's journal frankly 
thanks God that he had lost all taste for these excit- 
ing and enfeebling " pleasures." 

Unquestionably many professing and some real 
Christians do countenance, by their presence and oc- 
casional participation, the practice of this amuse- 
ment ; but we must believe that in their case the 
conscience has not been brought to its true point of 
sensitiveness, and that they have failed to recognize 
that the true question for the follower of Christ is 
not, " Can I indulge in these amusements without 
serious spiritual injury to myself?" but, "Will the 
indulgence in these pastimes glorify God or benefit 
my fellow-men ? " There may be no very harsh incon- 
gruity between such usages and a Christianity which 
consists in little more than an external observance of 
the Ten Commandments, modified by the conven- 
tional code of social and commercial morality, with 
the addition of neighborly good-heartedness and an 
easy-going attendance on the public services of re- 
ligion ; but the case is altogether different with such 



I 



I 



a man as Mr. Powell, who made the cultivation of 
Christian holiness the great purpose of his lite. 

As to all other questionable amusements, he 
showed the wisdom of the child of light. His busi- 
ness-like mode of going about the affairs of his soul 
taught him to postpone the common q.iestion, 
"What is the iMrm of such and such divereions?_ 
to an earlier and more pertinent inqmry, " What is 
the use of them? Are they the safest and most 
effective recreations?" But for all those gaieties 
which Christian prudence induced him to forego, 
he found amply compensating substitutes in music, 
for which he had both taste and capacity, and ot 
which he was passionately fond, in books, in swim- 
ming, in the pubhc services of rehgion,and in "sweet 
counsel" with like-minded Christians. 



'* 



CHUECH LIFE. 



61 



^ 



CHAPTER V. 



CUUKCII LIFE. 



The Wesleyan Methodists of EngltiiKl and tlie 
Colonies, though acknowledging the same founder 
and the same doctrinal views Avith the Methodist 
Episcopal Church in the United States, yet differ 
from them in many minor details. The Wesley ans 
have Superintendents but no Bishops ; Circuit Super- 
intendents but no Presiding Elders. They have the 
Class-meetings and the Class-leaders, tlie Love-feasts, 
the AYatch-night (which they observe quarterly in- 
stead of annually), and they have also the Band- 
meeting, the Covenant-service, and the Prayer- 
leader's Plan, which the exigencies of their position 
have developed, and which differ somewhat from 
American developments of Methodism. 

The Class-meeting and its Leader are institutions 
too well-known in this country wherever this power- 
ful denomination has planted its churches, to need 
any particular description here. 

The primary organization — preceding often the 
organization of a Church — of the Methodist body, it 
gathers for a weekly religious exercise a dozen or 
more members of the Churcli, or probationers, of both 
sexes, and under the guidance of a judicious leader, 
a man of experience and religious activity, requires 



of them individually some account of their Christian 
life for the week. This exercise, interspersed with 
sin<rin<r and prayer, is one of great value and nn- 
poi^tance to the spiritual growth of the entire mem- 
bership of the Church. It secures a more thorough 
watch care over young, fickle, or wayward membei-s 
than is otherwise possible; and promotes the spirit- 
ual growth of all. The Band-meeting of the Wes- 
leyan Church of England and the Colonies is a still 
smaller organization, and where the Bands include 
the entire membership of the Church, a still more 
efficient one. It consists of three or four members 
of the Church of the same sex and of nearly the 
same age, who imite together for religious exercises 
and mutual watch-care and Bible-study. The rela- 
tion of band-mates is very intimate and cordial, and 
in most instances productive of the very best re- 
sults. 

The Prayer-leader's Plan is another institution 

of English and Colonial Methodism, which under 
certain circumstances is productive of great good 
and to which the rapid spread of Methodism in the 
Colonies is largely due. A carefully prepared plan 
of the various wards or districts of a town, or of the 
neighboring villages and hamlets, is drawn up, and 
Prayer-leaders are selected and appointed from the 
most active and efficient of the younger members of 
the Church, to conduct cottage prayer-meetings in 
designated neighborhoods. The Prayer-leader is 
not allowed to deliver an address unless he is en- 
rolled amongst the body of lay-preachers or ex- 
horters. He is amenable to a periodical (usually a 



62 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



CHURCH LIFE. 



63 



I I 



monthly) meeting of his associates, which is presided 
over by the minister, and is required to report all 
cases of religions interest which have come under 
his cognizance with a view to their being brought 
under immediate pastoral care. Walter Powel^as 
we have seen and shall see, was identified with each 
of these sub-organizations in turn, and also became 
a lay-preacher or exhorter, developing remarkable 
power and fervor in his addresses. lie had joined 
a Glass and become a member of a Band., at his first 
connection with the Church ; not long after, he was 
appointed a Prayer-leader, a Sunday-school teacher, 
and eventually a Class-leader, and as we have said, 
an exhorter. Of the special religious services we 
have named, the Love-feast, a revival with some 
modifications of the Agajfxs or Feast of Charity of 
the Primitive Church, is a monthly or quarterly 
gathering of the members of the different classes 
and other probationers for the recounting of their 
religious experience, and to each of those present a 
piece of bread and a draught of water is offered 
during the meeting, in token of hearty fellow- 
ship. The Watch-night, formerly in England and 
America and still in the Colonies, a quarterly and 
originally a monthly service, is a season of pro- 
tracted prayer, accompanied with singing from 8.30 
P.M. till a little after midnight, usually with special 
reference to a revival. At its close a few minutes 
are spent in silent prayer ; after which a triumphal 
hymn is sung and the benediction pronounced. The 
Covenant-service is also an annual solemnity held 
on the first Sabbath of the year. After a full and 



clear exposition of the covenant relation between 
God and His people, a solemn form of personal con- 
secration to God is read aloud by the minister, and 
followed and assented to in silence by the members 
of the Church; suitable hymns are sung, and the 
Sacrament of the Lord's Supper admimstered. ihe 
frequent allusions to these services in Mr. Powells 
iournal seemed to render this much explanation 
necessary. Besides the cottage prayer-meetmgs, 
band-meetings, and class-meetings, there were larger 
and more central gatherings for prayer, it will be 
seen from Mr. Powell's journal, that one weekly 
meeting for supplication was held on Sunday morn- 
in^^s at five o'clock. These early assemblies were 
coeval with the origin of Methodism, but seem little 
adapted to the tyrannous usages of our over-ti'admg 
and over-feeding age. No doubt Walter Powell 
in his self-severity, often sat down to the account of 
spiritual slothfulness what was really attributable to 
physical exhaustion. But abler men than he have 
fallen into the like error; for instance, that earnest 
and devoted Christian, Dr. Arnold, of Rugby, who 
reproached himself for an indisposition to rise at 
the moment which he had fixed, not taking into 
account the exhausting labors of the previous day. 
Walter Powell, however, was right in condemn- 
ing late retiring, when he felt early rising to be a 

duty. , 

But to return to the journal. Allusions to the 
above-mentioned services abound in Walter Powell s 
diary. We subjoin a few illustrative extracts : 
" May 22d, 1844.— Met with my band-mates at 



64 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



CHURCH LIFE. 



65 



Beven a.m., and was strengthened and encouraged 
in my Christian course. Praise God for such means 

of orace 

« Nov.' 22d.— Class in the evening. Very profit- 
able Brother S. confessed to lis a grave fault for 
which he had that day been solennily rebuked. 
Seven years ago, he and other friends had been 
wont to" visit regularly an individual who had, m Ins 
youth, drunk deeply into deistical opinions, endcav- 
orin- to win him to the truth ; after some tnne they 
became discouraged and wearied out, and brother 
S. lamented that latterly, even in niectmg lum, he 
had refrained from conversing with um on us 
spiritual state. He had just been bitterly ronnnded 
that he had not worked while it was day by seen.g 
the passing f u,>eral of this very man Surely nei- 
ther past nor future work will atone for neglect of 

^'"MondS^ Jnly Ist—Went to Launceston by 
coach, and attended the love-feast in the evenn.g. 
nis grateful to my Heavenly Father to hear so 
many testify of His loving-kindness It must ha^e 
Ten a source of encouragement to all, to see m how 
many instances. the Lord used the most humble n>- 
struments and the simplest means to efrect conve - 

ions. Oh, if I were faithful and ""P--'^ ^t 
moment, the Lord would also use me. A s mple 
word spoken in earnest, and with a v.ew to gh,r.ty 
God was the means of turning to righteousness 
fome that addressed us. God is Love 1 He p..ves 
it; manifests it each succeeding day. He i^ .v^^e'l- 

spring of everlasting happiness to those who ac- 



' 



nuaint themselves with Him. He will guide them 
by His counsel, and afterward receive them to glory. 

watl:5 was held. I trust we all felt the .nfl^ 
ence of the Holy Spirit acting upon our hem ts. Oh 
that i may not ha4 to monrn the non-improvement 
T2l I solemn season! May the voice wlach 
sounded then, sound now ; yes, let me ever/^''^ Jhy 
voice ! May I " attend the whispers of Thy grace 
Mr. Lassitter showed powerfully how toohsh it is to 
content ourselves with hojnn<j for rest in Christ 
when it is our privilege to be conscious oi it. lie 
bron-ht forward the absoluteness and decisiveness 
of Scripture on the point of a personal consciousness 
of rest in Christ. Mr. Orookes followed, and spoke 
of the declension of the Society during the past 
quarter. He touched on some things which he sup- 
posed might possibly be the cause : want of unity, 
prayer, and faithfulness in the ministers themselves, 
and also hi the members. He exhorted us not to 
rest in our present state, but that night to set out 
afresh. Grant, gracious Lord, that the prayers, the 
cries, the teare, which come up before Tliee, may be 

answered ! " . , 

« 6th —Attended my class-meeting : was sensibly 

strengthened and quickened. I felt doubly grate- 
ful for God's unbounded love in bringing one soul 
more into the glorious liberty of the children of 

God, a person of the name of S , who, a very 

short time since, 'walked according to the course of 
this world.' " 



66 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



CHUECn LIFE. 



67 



" February 2d, 1845. — I again met in class, having 
missed one week, in consequence of my visit to 
Longford. I spoke my mind to my excellent leader 
in reference to the great unwillingness I felt to per- 
form my duty in reproving sin. He ui-ged me to 
apply to the Giver of every good and perfect gift 
for wisdom to direct me, and further said, that in 
order to perform this duty properly, we must have 
great love for the souls of men, and that whilst we 
feel the least approach of sin, and repel it witli the 
greatest abhorrence, and are keenly zealous for the 
honor of our Father-God, we must manifest grief 
rather than anger, when we see or hear His laws 
broken." 

" Wednesday, December 3d, 1844. — ^Went to the 
weekly service, and heard Mr. Crookes on * Love 
not the world, neither the tilings of the world ; if 
any man love the world, the love of the Father is 
not in him.' Considering how my mind has of late 
been drawn away by worldly objects, the address 
came seasonal)ly. Lord, help me to keep my heart 
with all diligence." 

" Gth. — Attended class, and obtained a clearer 
view of my glorious Saviour than I had for some 
time realized." 

" Sunday, 17th. — Led the morning prayer-meet- 
ing at seven. I was installed into the important 
office of prayer- loader this month. I trust I shall* 
see my need of walking humbly with God, and that 
He will fit me for my duties. How awfully re- 
sponsible is the Christian profession, in all respects ! 
By our conduct, we are either urging men to the 



kingdom of God, or proving stumbling-blocks in 
their way. Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O 
Lord ! " 

"Monday, October 23d. — The quarterly watch- 
night. Mr. Butters closed the meeting by a touch- 
ing appeal for the prayers of the Church on behalf 
of himself and colleague, telling us that were we 
only aware of their conflicts, perplexing doubts, and 
anxious fears, we should more frequently intercede 
for them at the throne of grace, that God would 
eminently fit them spiritually, morally, mentally, and 
physically for their great work. May the Lord 
answer ! " 

" Tuesday, 24th. — The quarterly love-feast. I 
was induced to offer a few remarks as to God's 
gracious dealings with me during the past quarter. 
I considered it to be but acknowledging a debt of 
gratitude to God. Had I listened to the numerous 
suggestions which presented themselves to my mind 
of my sinful and unworthy conduct in the past, I 
should have sat in shame and silence ; but I re- 
membered that I had not to trust in my own righte- 
ousness, but in that f)f my gracious Saviour ; and 
though I could not but acknowledge my unfaithful- 
ness, I could not forbear testifyhig of His love." 



^ 



BEMOVAL TO MELBOUBNE. 



69 



p ' 



CHAPTER VI. 

REMOVAL TO MELBOUKNE. 

■ In the autumn of 1845, Mr. Powell, then twenty- 
three years of age, was obliged to begin life afresh. 
The new settlement of Victoria, which had at first 
perceptibly improved, now diverted to itself the 
trade of Tasmania. Business at Launceston was 
for a time at the lowest ebb. Mr. Bell, Mr. Powell's 
father-in-law, and who was also his employer, found 
that his business had dwindled till there was little 
hope that it would be sufficient for the support of 
two families. It became clear that Walter Powell 
must, like his father, become an emigrant. Since 
trade would not come to Launceston, he must seek 
it at the point toward which it was evidently set- 
ting, and that point was Melbourne. He resolved, 
then, to migrate with his wife to the newest of the 
Australian colonies, a newer and wilder country 
than that to which his father had come twenty-three 
years before ; but one of more rapid growth and 
greater business promise. 

Eight months before, he had married with a fair 
prospect of a modest and hard-earned competence 
among the friends he had known from childhood. 
But, alas ! for human calcidations and forecastings. 
lie found himself now compelled to take his young 



bride to this new and bustling colony, where every- 
thing was in the roughest possible condition, and 
comforts, as yet, w^ere few. Yet, " as an eagle 
stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, 
spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth 
them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead 
him." This seemingly adverse current, which bore 
him from his sheltered moorings, was but the rising 
tide that taken at the flood led on to wealth. For 
the present, however, honest bread-getting was all 
he could aspire to. His poverty was almost as ab- 
Bolute as when at twelve years old he entered the 
office of an auctioneer, with the brave resolve to re- 
trieve the fortunes of his family. Walter had now 
the responsibilities and the counterbalancing sup- 
ports of wedded life. But the most disheartening 
aspect of his affairs was his shattered state of health. 
He had not long before been utterly disabled by a 
succession of sharp and threatening sicknesses. All 
this, however, brought out the strength and beauty 
of his character. Under date June 10th, he writes, 
" Still in ill-health and unable to take any active 
part in the business. I feel this to be a severe re- 
straint, but my chief duty is submission. Oh that my 
own will were entirely sw^allowed up in that of my 
Heavenly Father ! My withdrawal from business 
has been attended by a marked providence — the 
Lord has heard the cry of the distressed, and sent 
one to fill my situation, who is in needy circumstan- 
ces, with a wife and large family." In the same 
spirit he records his arrival in Victoria : 

"Melbourne, Kov. 22d, 1845.— Our affairs in 



1 



70 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



Yan Diemen's Land having taken an unfavorable 
turn, and the Pillar of Cloud appearing to move 
away from our little homestead at Launceston, on 
the 8th instant we embarked for Melbourne, where 
I trust He will be with us, whose favor is better 
than life. I said, ' If Thy presence go not with us, 
carry us not up hence.' After lying at George 
Town and in the river, wind-bound for a week, we 
bade farewell to the land of our childhood on the 
evening of the 15th, and on the ITth landed at 
William's Town. Lord, grant that since Thou hast 
extended such mercy to the unworthy, I may live 
and work for Thy glory. 'Tis true, I find within 
me ' an evil heart of unbelief ' ever ready to depart 
' from the Living God ; ' but I have learned the 
Apostles' prayer, *Lord, increase our faith.'" 

Thus at this anxious turning-point in his temporal 
affairs, his chief, his almost absorbing solicitude was 
to keep his heart rirjht with God. How faithfully 
did his Heavenly Fatlier fulfil to him His engage- 
ment—" But seek ye first the kingdom of God and 
His righteousness, and all these things shall he 

added unto you ! " 

The Melbourne of 1845 was not the spacious, 
stately, crowded, golden city, which now invites so 
many immigrants. It was then but nine yeai-s old, 
and was still in the roughest and most rudimental 
state. Four hundred miles from the nearest settle- 
ment, in the midst of immense grass plains, with an 
exuberant fertility of soil, and a delicious climate, 
its population was then about equal to that of Laun- 
ceston, Tasmania, numbering some seven thousand. 



REMOVAL TO MELBOURNE. 



71 



Durin^r Mr. Powell's residence there it increased 
more tlian fifteen fold. In 1861, Melbourne had 
108,224 inhabitants. 

In those early days, house accommodation of any 
sort was very scarce, and the best of it extremely 
comfortless. But Mr. Powell and his young bride 
quietly adjusted themselves to their lot. Providence 
did not betray their trust. Their fellow-townsfolk 
being all in the like struggling and transitional 
condition, rudeness of residence and the humblest 
forms of self-help involved no forfeiture of social 
consideration. The best-born there sustained an 
amount of manual labor and bodily exertion almost 
incredible to men of like position in the mother 
country, and delicate ladies were their own cooks 
and maids-of-all-work. In short, hard work was 
the order of the day ; all who had no taste for that 
were out of place in the embryo capital of Australia 
Felix. But Mr. Powell's principles and habits were 
exactly suited to such a state and stage of society. 
Kegularity, perseverance, punctuality, self-denial, 
and economy, combined with unwearyiug industry, 
crushed into smoothness that rutty road to hon- 
orable affluence. And, best of all, his journal 
shows that in these new and testins: circumstances he 
was still resolved to conform his life to what AYes- 
ley terms " the accuracy of the Christian model." 
Happily he found at Melbourne that which is almost 
ubiquitous, that of which the acknowledged mission 
is to go where it is most needed — the faithful 
quickening ministrations and the kindly fellowships 
of a genial evangelism. Here, too, amidst the keen 



I.I 



72 UFE OF -WALTEK POWELL. 

comi>etitionB of a new community intent on rapid 
™y-.naking, and the importunate anxieties of a 
bn ne "hi piocess of formation, he showed lumself 
e "r retdy fur the service of his Cliurch. And h.s 
Clu rlwas not slow in claiming whatsoever servico 
Uuucli was ^^.^^^^ j^,g journal 

trlw fa a tlent change of circumstances 
i;d not divert his attention from the great object of 

"^"Sunday, January 25th, 1846.-Was appointed 
bunaaj, •'(.^li^^ood Sunday-school. 

Secretary to e ^o ^,,^^„,t,a them- 

Eighty-one chiWren pieseiii,^wi.u 

BeU-es in a reputable manner." „„rnose 

« April 19th.-Vislted Geelong for the purpose 

of holding a meeting to advocate the cause of ^ot^ 

1 .• r Tlio iTioetiii"" was held m a Bioie. 

abstinence. The m<'«f »» j ,„,,t that this 

its attendant evils, will be ahoget^ e. 

this fatal vice, and the moral aspect of souetj wi 

become as lovely as that of nature around «b 

" September.lEeligion -'«-"* chanty Jia^ -, 
love, il a mere parade, aii cm^ ^'J^. 
T.nrf with love we part with Cxod. i^et me re i 
Ce ad ever keJp before my mind the various 
l;acteristics of this most God-like grace: 

" 1. Charity suffereth long. 



* 



' 



EEMOVAL TO MELBOURNE. 



73 



4. Charity vaunteth not itself. 



5. 

6. 

7. 

8. 

9. 
10. 
11. 
12. 
13. 
14. 
15. 

16. 



(( 



a 



u 



a 



« 



« 



(( 



u 



a 



(( 



u 



2. 



'« is kind. 



is not puffed up. 

doth not behave itself unseemly. 

seeketh not her own. 

is not easily provoked. 

thinketh no evih 

rejoiceth not in iniquity. 

rejoiceth in the truth. 

beareth all things. 

believeth all things. 

hopeth all things. 

endureth all things. 
^^ never faileth 1 " 

" This grace of the Spirit can be cultivated into 
beautiful perfection by every one who is born of the 
Spirit. The poor sinner who has wallowed for long 
years in evil may, by repentance and faith, have the 
seed of this virtue deep planted in his heart. The 
Holy Spirit both sows and nourishes this precious 
heavenly seed. Am I, a professor of the religion 
of Christ, without love % Deliver me, O Lord, from 
this great transgression ! During the past week I 
have been laid aside. I esteem it a mercy from my 
Lord, yet I have not improved this providential re- 
tirement from the business of the world as I might 
have done ; but I bless God that I am not satisfied 
with my present Christian experience, and am re- 
solved, by His grace, to distrust myself and lean 
only upon Ilim. I have been prevented from ful- 
filling my duty as superintendent of the Sabbath- 
school, but have prayed to the Chief Shepherd that 



mm • 

3^ " envieth not. 



1 1 






74 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



lie would remember it in tender mercy, and pour 
His Spirit upon the children and the teachers." 

We incidentally gather from the last entry tliat 
he had been raised from the secretaryship to the 
Buperin tendency of the Snndaj^-scliool ; rnd from 
subsequent records, that he had been appointed to 
several other Church offices. 

" November. — I know not how to write in this 
neglected journal. My present situation is perilous, 
and unless I cry at once * to Ilim who is mighty to 
save,' I shall become a miserable backslider in heart 
and life. And this to be the state of my mind when 
occupying important offices in the Clnirch of Christ ! 
To stand on the Plan as a Leader of Prayer, when I 
feel almost destitute of the spirit of prayer ; required 
by the Church to superintend a Sabbath-school, to 
guide young children to Christ's gentle arms, to 
lead them to His loving lips, when I myself need 
to be led by the hand; appointed to the solemn 
office of Class-leader, to direct, advise, comfort, and 
animate my fellow-Christians, when ray own soul 
needs the direction and the counsel of those whom 
I am appointed to instruct. Ah, Lord ! Thou 
knowest my extreme barrenness and spiritual desti- 
tution. ' Eestore unto me the joys of Thy salva- 
tion, and uphold me with Thy free Spirit ; then will 
I teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners shall be 
converted unto Thee.' 

" I solemnly resolve, by the grace of God, to 

" 1st. — Eise early, for the purpose of searching 
the Scriptures and prayer, and to study useful books. 

<*2d. — To pray more for the conversion of my 



EEMOVAL TO MELBOURNE. 



75 



. 1 



M 



! 



relatives ; for the outpouring of the Spirit upon our 
minister and the people here, and the Church gene- 
rally ; to seek a revival of Ilis work in my own soul, 
and to ask for its extension to every creature under 

heaven. 

« 3d.— To be not slothful in business ; to be con- 
stant and punctual at the means of grace ; and to 
earnestly seek each day to grow in grace, and in the 
knowledge of my Lord and Saviour. 

" 4:th.— To pray that I may enjoy, at all times, the 
witness of His Spirit with mine that 1 am His child. 

" Knowing that I am incapable of any good thing 
without His grace, I humbly implore Him to em- 
power me to carry out these resolutions, so far as 
they consist with His blessed will. O Lord, give 
me a disposition to record Thy dealings with me 

continually." 

" October 20th, 1847.— My old band-mate, Thomas 
Denny, has been staying with me a month. I have 
been weighed down with cares of the world. This 
ought not to be. These cares clK»ke the good seed. 
Oh that my care may be cast upon ray Saviour ! I 
can testify to the goodness of God in marvellously 
helping me in temporal matters ; helping me when 
I knew not where to look for help, and inclining 
the hearts of many to assist me. My soul, in all thy 
ways acknowledge Him, and fear not. He will di- 
rect tliy paths." 

" November 23d, 1847.— Oiir little daughter left 

us, after a joyous earthly existence of twenty-three 
months ; joyous because she was docile, and render- 
ing a ready obedience to all our wishes. It has been 



76 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



REMOVAL TO MELBOURNE. 



77 



ii I 



our aim to train her up for God, and we have not 
shrunk from enforcing obedience by correction; 
knowing that the foundation of every virtue is obedi- 
ence, and that ' even a child is known by his doings, 
whether it be pure, and whether it be right.' We 
can testify to the advantage of checking the first 
manifestations of a rebellious nature, and of teach- 
ing a child so to ' love ' as to * honor and obey.' We 
have been rewarded by the sweet affection of our 
child. We hoped to have seen the day when she 
would give her young heart to lier Eedeemer. But 
Bhe was His. lie has opened the kingdom of heaven 
for her, and she is now singing the song of the re- 
deemed. Her Heavenly Father used simple means 
in taking her to Himself— an ordinary child's fall. 
The Lord had need of her. A short time before 
her deatli, He poured consolation into our hearts in 
a wonderful manner ; so much so, that our sorrow 
was turned into joy. We felt the Holy Spirit act- 
ing on our hearts like a refiner's fire, and were ena- 
bled to hold loosely all earthly things." 

" 25th.— Was blamed by Mr. Lowe for not allowing 
my name to be added to the list of exhorters. I 
told him my motive for refusing was now removed. 
I had declined because I was conscious that the 
world was getting into my heart, and I had feared 
lest, by being thus brought prominently before the 
public, my inconsistencies might be brought to light. 
But now, O Lord, my helplessness and ignorance I 
offer not as an excuse for declining any service 
which Thy Church requires from me. If called by 



%k 



Thee to labor, Thou wilt fit me. ' Not by might nor 
by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.' 

*' 'Give me Thy stren^h, O God of power, 
Then let winds blow, or thunders roar ; 
Thy faithful witness will I be, 
»Tis fixed, I can do aU through Thee/ 

" But, O Lord, if Thou seest that I am not fitted 
for this awfully responsible and glorious work, then 
intei-pose Thy hand. I still possess peace with God 
through our Lord Jesus Christ. Glory be to God ! " 

" Smiday, 28th.— Scarcely able, from bodily feeble- 
ness, to walk to my school ; but the work must be 
done. O Lord, let me always labor for Thee ! May 
the salvation of souls ever be uppermost in my 
thoughts! May I never lose Thy regard! Any- 
thing but this. O Lord, save Melbourne! Con- 
vince its inhabitants, by Thy Spirit, of sin, of right- 
eousness, and of judgment!" 

The Sunday-school which \\x. Powell superinten- 
ded soon became very large. It was situated at a 
considerable distance from his house, so that its toils 
formed no light addition to the labors of the week. 

Thus sedulously and passionately did young Pow- 
ell strive to walk in the narrow way, and to conform 
his inner and his outer life to God's Holy Word. 
Doubtless he made fewer allowances for himself 
than the Saviour made for him ; and perhaps the 
anxious patient sometimes felt his own pulse until 
it throbbed and faltered beneath the pressure ; but 
he was steadily growing into a robust and buoyant 
piety. Building himself uj^on his most Jioly faith, 
paying in the Holy Ghost, he kept himself in the 
love of God. 



1 1 



niS FIRST VOYAGE TO ENGLAND. 



79 



CHAPTEE VII. 

HIS FIRST VOYAGE TO ENGLAND. 

Mb. Powell had long cherished a natural desire 
to visit the iinremembered land of his birth. 
Having received warm invitations from his maternal 
aunt, he resolved to gratify this longing. He also 
hoped that the enforced rest of a long voyage, and 
the tonic virtue of change of air and scene, might 
effect that restoration of his shattered health, which 
medicine and brief intervals of anxious inactivity 
had failed to accomplish. A good inspiration acting 
on his native energy and promptitude, awoke in 
him the resolution to make one bold struggle to 
attain a less dependent and straitened position than 
that of a clerk. He determined, if possible, to 
obtain, through his maternal connections, an intro- 
duction to some wholesale houses in England. 

In pursuance of these objects, Mr. and Mi-s. 
Powell embarked for England on the 7th of April, 

1848, in the " Fox," commanded by Captain , 

a devout man, who every evening assembled the 
passengers, and as many of the sailors as the cuddy 
would hold, for thanksgiving, prayer, and the read- 
ing and exposition of the Word of God. As the 
Antipodal May corresponds with our November, our 
travellers suffered much from extreme cold during 




the earlier weeks of the voyage. No care could 
save the gorgeous Australian birds which they were 
bearing as presents and mementos from the birth- 
place of their children to the country of their kin. 
The ice-king also levied heavy contributions on their 
commissariat, a hundred aud ninety-two capons hav- 
ing perished in four days. Mr. Powell himself, 
being in very low health, was utterly unable to bear 
up against the rigor of the season. He could not 
so much as make the accustomed entries in his 
journal ; a duty which was, however, undertaken 
by his wife, though she, too, was near her confine- 
ment, and " wretchedly ill." Their route was by 
the " formidable Horn." They endured the tedious 
discomfort of a voyage of four months and eleven 
days, seeing, for the most part, " naught but the 
restless plain." For weeks the wind was not only 
piercing, but baffling and adverse. They beguiled 
as they might the weary weeks; watching the 
white foam fly off their bow ; " chatting al)out all 
that we have left, and all that we are going to ; " 
recalling day by day the home occupations inter- 
mitted for so long a time. 

They did not fail to note the few incidents which 
relieve the monotony and cheer the confinement of 
a long sojourn on the sea ; e.g. — 

" April 25th.— A whale forty feet long came with- 
in two hundred yards of the ship. The morning 
was sufficiently clear to enable the captain to take 
an observation, which made us yet one thousand 
eight hundred miles from Cape Horn." 

" Sunday, May 7th.— Had a few glimpses of the 



li! 



80 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



Bun. Early this morning quite a sensation was 
created by the sudden cry of a sail, seen undoubtedly 
by several on board. It proved, however, to be a 
mere illusion, a marine mirage ; being but the re- 
flection of our own sliip. Had Divine service in 
the cuddy. The captain read an excellent sermon 
in the morning, and in the afternoon two of eTames's 
Pastoral Addresses, and another good discourse in 
the evening. Wind still contrary." 

" May 10th.— Still contrary wind, barometer very 
low, foreshowing high winds. We were called on 
deck last night to see a lunar rainbow." 

"July 4th. — Have seen a great number of dol- 
phins. Caught one of them." 

"Sunday, 6th.— Divine service. Texts suitable. 
In the morning, ' What I say unto you I say unto 
all, Watch.' In the evening, the history of Jonah." 

" 27th. — Spoke the ' Ben Lomond,' a fine ship of 
a thousand tons. She had spoken a French brig, 
which gave her the news of another French revolu- 
tion." 

" Sunday, August 7th.— Could not have Divine 
service, as we are passing through the Channel 
between two of the Azores. At three p.m. we were 
close to both of them. The land is high, and at 
first sight the hills seemed rocky and barren ; but, 
on a nearer view, we found them richly cultivated. 
We could distinguish a windmill, a church, a castle, 
and several houses." 

Two events, however, served materially to break 
the tedium of that protracted voyage. On the 
23d of May, at midnight, whilst the ship was stag- 



T 



f 



HIS FIEST VOYAGE TO ENGLAND. 



81 



gering about Cape Horn, driven by an adverse wind 
into dangerous proximity to it, and, unable to round 
the Falklands, was feeling and forcing her way 
through the seething Straits of Magellan, in a wild 
snow-storm, Mr. Powell's iirst-born son entered this 
tempestuous world. The birth was quite an event 
in the ship's history, and was duly chronicled in the 

log. 

The other enlivening event is thus recorded, after 
many entries of "contrary winds" and "calms," 
and " very heavy weather." 

"June 26th.— This evening, with a fair wind, 
we entered the beautiful harbor of Bahia. The 
coast scenery is picturesque and lovely in the high- 
est degree. The bay is spacious. The light-house 
stands on an elevated point, at the termination of a 
noble range of hills, stretching as far as the eye can 
reach. On nearing the city, one's dreams of fairy- 
land seem almost realized. The green hills, bathing 
their feet in the white foam ; the strange but grace- 
ful trees ; the novel and yet handsome buildings of 
an immense city, containing about two hundred 
thousand inhabitants, and terracing a lofty hill, 
form a view of surpassing magnificence and beauty. 
A commanding fort stands in the centre of the 
harbor. We were not long here before we were 
boarded by an oflicer from a splendid Portuguese 
frigate, of sixty-four guns, which lay at anchor, 
offering us any services we might require, and in- 
viting the captain and passengers on board the 
frigate. They confirmed the startling intelligence 

of another French Kevolution." 
4* 



i i 

i : 



82 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



To one who up to the age of twenty-six had never 
beheld a town larger than the little capital of 
Tasmania, Bahia must have been an imposing 
spectacle. 

"June 27th. — The passengers went on shore. 
The scenery formed a rich contrast to the silent 
plains and sombre woodlands of Australia. The 
cocoa-nut palm, tlie bread-fruit plantain, and the 
oranjre-tree, covered the hills in delicious luxuriance. 
The bay was studded with fishing and trading ves- 
sels of all shapes and sizes ; ships were tacking out 
and in, and some hundred and fifty vessels anchored 
near the town. The various consulates are hand- 
some buildings, ranging along the hill, at the j^oint 
of which the light-house stands. But *the lower 
town ' is extremely dirty ; the wharf is a narrow, 
shabby landing-place, and along its extent are built 
rows of dirty stores, from two to six stories high. 
The negroes perform every description of labor. 
Some are selling refreshments, toys, etc. ; others 
carry water and heavy burdens. Every one of 
them sends out some distinctive cry, the most heav- 
ily laden the loudest ; and as there are thousands of 
these shouters continually in the streets, the aggre- 
gate uproar is deafening. Sedan-chairs form the 
mode of conveyance for all classes, from the Gover- 
nor to the poor mulatto. Those belonging to pri- 
vate individuals are, of course, handsomer, and 
have bearers better dressed than those let out on 
hire. The churches are very numerous, with tall 
steeples, vast domes, and huge bells ; most of which 
are generally clanging, apparently in the pious 



if 



HIS FIBST VOYAGE TO ENGLAND. 



83 



effort to drown the commercial clamor of the streets. 
Many of the churches are magnificently decorated, 
both without and within. The grandeur of the 
cathedral, as seen from the entrance, quite astonish- 
ed us. We had read and heard of the splendor of 
Koman Catholic churches, but the reality far sur- 
passed imagination. The first object which arrested 
our attention was an exquisitely carved image of 
the Saviour, immediately above the altar ; on which 
stood massive candlesticks, as long as a tall man, 
with the other glittering paraphernalia of Popish 
worship. The pulpits are of solid marble, elabo- 
ately and tastefully carved. The side aisles and 
transepts are fitted up with confessionals, and the 
innumerable niches in the walls seemed occupied 
by the whole Pantheon of Popery. The roof looked 
like a broad firmament, curiously constellated with 
carven and gilded devices; the centre being an 
immense sun, surrounded by groups of angels. We 
could have spent hours in examining this grand 
work of art, the receptacle of so many smaller 
works of art, but felt little drawn to devotion. 

" Thence to the market, where we found nothing 
so remarkable as the thousands of negroes, vending 
all manner of fruits, and gorgeous parrots, and 
other rare and lovely birds. Some were busily 
plaiting mats and sombreros. We went into two 
or three shops, one a perfumer's, luxuriously fitted 
up, with a variety of little elegances in glass-cases. 
On our way back, we passed through many crowded, 
narrow, squalid streets, some quite lined with palan- 
quins, the bearers of which hustled us provokingly. 



84 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



I I 



To escape this torture we were obliged to purchase 
the services of one of our tormentors ; and so, for 
the first time, experienced the dignity of using men 
as beasts of burden. The dinner at the hotel com- 
prised some fifty different dishes, consisting mainly 
of a vast variety of stews — stewed beef, stewed 
tongue, stewed beans, stewed peas, stewed every- 
thing ; the most substantial dish was a fine turkey. 
For dessert came guava jelly, cheese-cakes, and 
piles of oranges and bananas. We had much noise 
and merriment, but no disorder or excess. 

" We left Bahia with an ample supply of water 
and of oranges, and a store of pleasing recollections." 

Whilst within the tropics they suffered almost as 
much from heat as, a few weeks before, from cold. 
They reached the English Channel on the 16th of 
August, and had their first view of the English 
coast in bright summer weather ; and first " set foot " 
on British soil on the lOtli of that month. This ex- 
pression was true of both, as Mr. Powell had left 
his native land before he could walk or stand alone. 
So happily are we constituted hy oxxy faithful Crea- 
tor^ that all the weariness and anxiety of the voyage 
were lost sight of in a moment; its extremes of 
temperature, its crises of peril, its winter-passage of 
" thq formidable Ilorn," its threatening storms, and 
scarcely less trying calms, all were as nothing now ; 
and the journal closes, " after a long but delightful 
passage of four calendar months and eleven days." 



CHAPTER YIII. 



'< 



ii 



ms KETIJEN TO MELBOTJKNE. LIFE ON BOAED AN EMI- 

GEANT SHIP. 

We shall henceforward give but few extracts from 
Mr. Powell's spiritual diary. Those which we have 
ah'eady given have allowed a privileged access to his 
inner life, and have opened the secret pathway to 
the sources of his perennial kindness, integrity, and 
usefulness. Thej^ have demonstrated that his secret 
communion with God had stamped upon his brow 
" the beauty of holiness," and that his sweetness 
and benignity of character had only been attained 
by severe, protracted, and strongly-contested strug- 
gles with his natural temper and disposition. 

Btit there is a certain monotonousness inseparable 
from a daily record of the alternations and vicissi- 
tudes of his Christian life. We are not to look for 
graces of style or flowers of rhetoric in a spiritual 
more than in a commercial day-book. To many 
readers, too, there is such a dread of everything 
which savors of cant, that they are suspicious of 
even the simplest utterances of earnest godliness. 
And yet the language of Canaan varies very little 
throughout the tribes of Israel. How curious it is 
to note that Miss Mitford, for example, when age 
and sickness bring her face to face with death and 



8Q 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS EETURN TO MELBOUENE. 



87 



eternity, falls into the same phraseology of which 
she had made such graceful and good-natured sport, 
when used some twenty years before by a " Method- 
ist " acquaintance, who ventured to manifest some 
interest in her soul, and which she had once regard- 
ed as the \ery patois of enthusiasm ! 

Our extracts must now, however, be of a different 
kind, presenting another phase of his well-rounded 
character. Every scene through which he passed 
was to him a field of observation. The journal, 
which took its rise from the sternest principle, be- 
came at length a passion and a necessity. He 
seemed as if resolved to arrest the evanescence of 
our mortal life, by sketching and fixing those feat- 
ures of each succeeding day which gave it individ- 
uality and meaning. Thus his journal became a 
strange miscellany. Some smart and fool-rebuking 
retort stands side by side with programmes of stren- 
uous self -culture ; and comic photographs of odd 
situations alternate with the gravest notices of spir- 
itual progress or recession. The aspect of his nat- 
ure, which the present chapter specially reveals, is 
his exquisite sense of the ludicrous, his genuine love 
of fun, his keen appreciation of the grotesque ele- 
ment of human life, in fact, his broad geniality of 
nature. Mr. Butters, who knew him intimately 
from his conversion to his death, says, " that with all 
his earnestness and eagerness, he was the merriest 
fellow I ever met with in my life." Nor is this 
strange, or in any wise exceptional. The corre- 
spondence between him and the noble-natured Daniel 
Draper, overflows with lively drollery. For cheer- 






fulness, like praise, is comely to the upright. Hence 
earnest men are, in a double sense, the best company 
in the world. A fixed heart is a light heart. My 
heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed : I will smg 

and give praise." 

Mr and Mrs. Powell remained in England nearly 
six months. The voyage, the marvels of his native 
land never seen till manhood, gazed at with childish 
wonder and adult intelligence; the warm welcome 
of relations of whom he had heard so much, but 
seen nothing ; and, above all, the long vacation from 
the daily strain and worry of business, told most 
favorably upon his health. Although he had 
passed through two winters in the twelvemonth, one 
on either side of the globe, one on sea, and one on 
land, yet, when he stepped on board the good ship 
in Plymouth Sound, on the 5th of February, 1849, 
he found himself a much haler and healthier man, 
than when, ten months before, he had lost sight of 
the Australian coast. He had accomplished the 
main object of his visit, having obtained an intro- 
duction to some first-class houses in the iron trade. 
He had also laid in a good stock of well-chosen 
books. He was commencing another stage in his 
heavenward pilgrimage. Like Jacob, he had gone 
forth to visit the land of his race, his parents' coun- 
try and kindred, which was to him, moreover, the 
unremembered land of birth. Instead of four 
hundred miles of desert, he had traversed twelve 
thousand miles of ocean ; he had come not to find a 
wife, but accompanied by his Tasmanian bride and 
his sea-born son. Before he undertook that journey, 




88 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS BETUEN TO MELBOURNE. 



89 



i'i 



he had seen the ladder of light, and had heard, and 
assented to, the gracious overtures of God. lie had 
set his seal to God's covenant, saying, " If God will 
be with me, and keep me in tlie way which I go, 
and give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 
and bring me home in peace, then the Lord shall be 
my God, and of all that Thou givest me, I will 
surely give a tenth unto Thee." 

The return voyage differed from the outward in 
many points, besides the total change of course. 
Our travellers were obliged to take a crowded emi- 
grant ship, there being no other for Port Phillip 
direct. She had on board two hundred and lifty 
emigrants, and six saloon passengei's, including Mr. 
and Mrs. Powell, and the surgeon-superintendent. 

I shall make a few extracts, which will suffice to 
give continuity to the thread of our story, to illus- 
trate Mr. Powell's unremitting self-culture and 
thoughtful piety, in striking combination with a 
vivid interest in all human matterb. We also gain 
amusing sketches of life on board an emigrant, ship. 

" Sunday, February 11th. — Many of the emigrants 
deplorably ill. The doctor, after calling over their 
names, was about to proceed with Divine service, 

when he was hoisted from the poop by Mr. , 

who demanded to know whether he meant to let the 
sick people die for want of attention. A ^ne fracas 
ensued, the altercation was violent ; but after this 
unseemly introduction, order being partially re- 
covered, the service commenced, and continued in 
spite of many interruptions. The sermon was from 
the words, * Come thou into the ark.' " 



Judging from subsequent entries, which it is not 
expedient to print in full, the emigrant ship afforded 
as rich advantages for studying the natural history 
of the human species, as did Noah's structure for 
showing the instincts and habitudes of clean and 

unclean beasts. 

" Monday, 12th. — ^Wind contrary. Storm in the 
saloon, in consequence of the doctor's forbidding 
the gentleman who interfered with his clerical 
functions yesterday any further intercourse with the 

emigrants." 

" Tuesday, 13th.— At the tea-table was enabled by 
the grace of God to express my opinion of the prac- 
tice of profane swearing, and trust that this awful 
habit will be checked. Our time is passing pleas- 
antly; our little boy being a constant source of 
amusement. I am reading with great interest 
Alison's ' History of Europe.' May God still pros- 
per us, and enable us to live to His glory ! " 

A healthy baby on board ship is a blessing to the 
whole community ; everyone in turn is a nurse and 

a playmate. 

" 14th. — One of the children died, and was com- 
mitted to the deep. I was drawn to muse upon the 
glorious salvation which Christ has wrought for 
children dying in infancy, and to remind myself of 
the Lord's admonition, ^ Be ye also ready.' Several 
of the emigrants in a pitiable plight. But those 
who are well amuse themselves in the evening with 
singing, dancing, and playing on the ffute, violin, 
and clarionet." 



-r 



90 



LIFE OF WALTER ^O^VELL. 



«16tli. Read an instructive meditation on tlic 

difference between ' Knowledge and Wisdom.' " 

u i7tli.— Favorable wind and weather, but half a 
cralc between the captain and the doctor about the 
treatment of the poor sick emigrants. I read an 
essay on ' Inadequate Views of our Fallen Nature. 
The sea superbly phosphorescent : a shoal of por- 
poises showed grand and grim, like a vision of mon- 
sters w^eltering in fire." 

« Sunday, 18th.— Service this morning, and a 
prayer-meeting on deck this evening. Two of the 
emigrants offered prayer, and all seemed greatly 
pleaW with the service." 

u 19th —The trade-wind is rapidly bearmg us mto 
hot weather, but the oppressive days are richly com- 
pensated by the magnificently starry mghts. We 
have made good way ; as I have also in reading 
Alison The doctor commenced a school ; and i 
proposed a Sunday-schm.1, and was accepted as a 

teacher 

"Wednesday, 2l8t.-Wc had Divine Bcn-ioc at 
mid-day. The doctor read one of Burder s Village 

Sermons.' " .-,-,* 

« 24th -Keading ' Protestantism m Fi-ance, from 
1584 to 1685.' Also, ' A Memoir of Thirza, a con- 
Terted Jewess.' I feel my heart drawn to the ba- 

viour of sinners." . 

» Sunday, 25th.-Near Brava and the volcanic 
island Fuego. Divine service as nsnal atele-.,a,id 
in the evening hymns and prayers^ The two ic- 
li<,iou8 emigrants offered prayer. Read a part of 
.Modern Jerusalem.' Also Wesley's sermon on 



I 



T 



J 

I 



HIS RETURN TO MELBOUENE. 



91 



' Speak evil of no man.' Lord, ever remind me of 

this Thy benign command. Mr. threw one of 

the beds, placed on the poop to air, at the doctor, 
which struck him on the head so violently as to 
knock him down. This offended the passengers 
more than the doctor, who seems to have been so 
stunned by the blow as to think it an accident, or is 
so meek as to give it that interpretation." 

" 27th.— Walking up the poop, after reading in 
my cabin this morning, I found the married men 
amongst the emigrants in a state of mild mutiny 
against the doctor, making threatening demonstra- 
tions, and clamoring to be transferred to the cai'e 
of the captain. This added an alien responsibility 
the captain could not accept. The doctor only re- 
plied by reading the ' Eegulations.' I fear this 
move will rather aggravate than relieve our disturb- 
ances." 

" February 28th. — The heat overpowering. More 
troubles amongst the emigrants, who have much to 
try them. We have on board, — 

" Married couples, 41 82 

Single — males, 40, females, 43 83 

Children— boys, 36, girls, 41 77 

242" 

"March 2d. — Having copied all my invoices, I 
installed Annie as my chief clerk. We checked 
them carefully ; my clerk doing very well for a be- 
ginning ; but when we came to certain articles of 
household furniture, her clerkship suddenly forgot 



92 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



her place, and insisted on approi^riating several of 
them, not only for use, but also for ornament. 

" The portion of Scripture i-ead this moniing was 
Eev. ii. The peculiar promise liere is, ' To Mm that 
overcometh.^ What a breadth and urgency of ap- 
plication belong to these words ! How mucli to be 
overcome daily everywhere, both by resistance and 
attack ! Lord, increase my faith ! " 

" 3d. — Notwithstanding the monotony of the voy- 
age, the days seem to pass very quickly. We reach 
the end of the week before we are aware. Near 
the 'tween-decks at night it is like an oven. Tho 
emigrants endeavor to avoid the heat by sleeping in 
the boats, under the stairs, or anywhere they can 
find a little shelter." 

" Sunday, 4th.— Another death tliis morning ; a 
maiTied woman. She was attacked suddenly last 
night. Another loud summons. ' Prepare to meet 
thy God.' She suffered fearfully from heat and 
thii-st." 

" Gth. — Hotter and hotter. Many of the female 
emigrants unwell; the poop transformed into an 
hospital. Dispute between the captain and two of 
the saloon passengers, because he %vould not leave 
his duty to play cards." 

" 7th. — Making about a knot an hour. Was very 
much impressed in my Bible reading this morning 
with the truth that ' to obey is bettor than sacrifice,' 
from the fact that one so devout and zealous as the 
good King Josiah should have his useful life cut 
short in an engagement, entered upon in opposition 
to the express command of God." 



HIS EETUEN TO MELBOURNE. 



93 



t 



•>! t 



" 8th. — Made only five miles in the last twenty- 
four hours. Lat. 4^ 48'. The poop nearly full of 
emigrants ill with the heat. Another stormy debate 
between the colonel and the doctor, about the emi- 
grants sleeping on the poop." 

" 10th. — An examination held in the captain's 
cabin, on an emigrant who had committed an assault 
on another. Sentenced to appear before the police 
office, on arrival at Melbourne." 

" Sunday, 11th. — Divine service sadly interrupted 
by the insubordination of the emigrants, over whom 
the surgeon-superintendent has lost all control and 
all influence, excepting to excite their ridicule. 
This lamentably spoils the peace and harmony of 
our little community. I employed my Sabbath 
morning in reading Ford's ' Laodicea,' and trust 
that the solemn and just arguments there employed 
to arouse Christians from their lethargy may not be 
lost on me. ' Save, Lord, or I perish ! '" 

" 12th. — Squally weather. Sharp disputes on 
board. Mr. interfering with the doctor, blam- 
ing him for frequent bleeding of an epileptic woman ; 
after that a comic, loud-voiced altercation between 
the doctor and some Irish girls, who had been repri- 
manded by him for their attentions to the first mate. 
The poor doctor had no chance with the arch Hi- 
bernians, lie was ingloriously driven from the 
field by volleys of irresistible laughter. These quar- 
rels, like the squalls, are unpleasant breaks in the 
monotony of our voyage. Spoke the ' James Gibbs,' 
emigrant ship. Her captain and doctor came on 
board, and our saloon passengei*s returned the visit. 



u 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



} 



"We spent two liours on board the * James Gibbs,' and 
were delighted with her discij3line and cleanliness. 
Oar doctor was so much impressed that we had 
scarcely regained our ship before he commenced a 
most vigorous reform, assuming a resolution and an 
energy altogether foreign to his character, and more 
grotesque than imposing. Having heard on board 
the * James Gibbs' that an unruly emigrant had 
been put in irons, he was determined without delay 
to magnify his authority, and literally to make an 
example of some one or other. He went strut- 
ting about, threatening men and women in the most 
overbearing style. He tried to stop the dancing of 
the Irish girls, thrusting his lantern in their faces. 
Whereupon one of them made of him an improvised 
May-pole, dancing round him in the wildest glee. 
The doctor seemed to take to his new character re- 
markably well. He stood stock-still, as if stuck 
there for the very purpose. At every pause in the 
performance, the emigrants clapped and encored, 
and the music jangled all the while. The doctor 
did not recover from his fascination till the breath- 
less girl sat down. He then became terrible, foam- 
ing with rage, and ordering her below, amidst deri- 
sive advices to put her in irons. To these marine 
theatricals we had an unpleasant afterpiece in the 
cuddy, the captain not caring to interfere." 

"14th. — Four vessels in sight. All calm and 
bright, excepting another violent altercation be- 
tween two female emigrants. In the evening had a 
pleasant conversation with the cuddy passengei"s on 
personal religion. Studying Cobbett's English 



f 



V 



f 



HIS EETUKN TO MELBOUENE. 



95 



Grammar, feeling the necessity of understanding 
the principles of my mother-tongue better than I 
now do." This beginning at the beginning of self- 
education is characteristic and instructive. 

" 17th.— St. Patrick's Day. The Irish emigrants 
made some shamrocks. Crossed the Line. The 
captain waived his declared aversion to the usual 
ceremonies, but quietly advised the doctor to send 
the emigrants below, for fear the sailors might be 
too rough for some of them. The masquerade was 
not without a rude, good-natured humor. Neptune 
and Amphitrite were charioted on a gun-carriage, 
with classical attendants in masks, smeared with 
lamp-black, and guarded by a human-visaged lion, 
clothed like a false prophet, in sheep-skins. They 
demanded to initiate into the mysteries of the 
Equator those of the crew who had not before 
passed it. About half a dozen sailors were duly 
lathered with tar, grease, and turpentine, mixed 
with black paint, scraped with a key-hole saw, and 
plunged into a large tub. This operation they bore 
with infinite good-humor. But, of course, the doc- 
tor must play the principal part in the pantomime. 
To decoy him. from the poop, Mrs. Neptune was 
suddenly seized with a fainting-fit. She fell heavily 
upon the deck; her attendants, with loyal alarm 
and tenderness, raised her in a state of helpless un- 
consciousness, and propped her up against the main- 
mast. The doctor's aid was anxiously implored. 
This time, no one could accuse him of negligence 
or want of sympathy. He Imrried from the poop, 
and whilst bending over his mythological patient, 



96 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



I 



was suddenly drenched with a bucket of salt water, 
— of course intended to revive the fainting goddess ! 
At all events it had that efPect, altliough absorbed 
by the doctor instead of the patient. The swooning 
immortal was instantly herself again, and her phy- 
sician, finding that his services were no longer 
required, proceeded to withdraw; but her attend- 
ants kept him in an enchanted circle, until they had 
saturated him with libations of their monarch's 
element. The emigrants now jt^ining in the play, 
and crowding round the leading figure, several 
buckets of salt water were distributed amongst them 
from the main-top. The scene closed very harm- 
lessly, and accomplished its purpose, — an amusing 
change in the dreariness of a long voyage. About 
an hour afterwards we sighted a homeward-bound 
vessel, some seven miles aliead. We all forgot the 
frolic in thoughts of the friends we had left behind, 
and set briskly to work writing letters. They were 
conveyed to the stranger in the captain's boat. She 
put her sails aback, and received them on board. 
Slie proved to be the ' John Daniel,' from Batavia to 
Rotterdam. The captain, with injudicious gener- 
osity sent back to us several case-bottles of spirits, 
with almonds and cigars. The gift was unfortunate, 
as the doctor showed his forgiving spirit by not only 
dispensing the liquors, but by allowing a quantity of 
porter besides. The result was that the emigrants' 
steward, the third mate, and the carpenter, became 
mad drunk ; and the two latter so violent, that the 
captain was obliged to confine one of them, and put 
handcuffs on the other, and bind him to the side of 



^L 



J' 




HIS RETURN TO MELBOURNE. 



97 



the vessel, where he kicked and cursed for hours, 
till completely exhausted. Thus miserably ended 
the entertainment of the day." 

"Sunday, 18th.— All calm and peaceful, calcu- 
culated to draw the mind to the Author of peace. 
All praise to Him for the blessed Sabbath and its 
holy services, so sweet and elevating even on the 

sea!" ,. ^ 

« 19th.— Still at Cobbett. My little boy this day 

said ' Papa.' Sweet sound to a father's ears ! " 

"20th.— One of the married female emigrants 
died. She caught a slight cold through the playful 
drenching three days ago. She complained a little 
on the next day, and^ died this morning at ten 
o'clock, shortly after taking a dose of turpentine 
administered by the doctor. The scene was heart- 
rending. Her seven children threw themselves 
down with the most piercing exclamations of grief. 
Her loss to them is irretrievable. She had brought 
them up respectably, and with great care. The 
captain did not intend to bury her till to-morrow, 
but the poor father, doubtless anxious to bury his 
dead out of his children's sight, requested that her 
body might be committed to the deep this afternoon. 
The colonel read the Burial Service, the emigrants 
mournfully gathered around. While the sad words 
were said, ' Man that is born of woman hath but a 
short time to live, and is full of misery,' how 
solemnly did they sink into my soul ! I had heard 
them read over father, mother, brother, sister, friend, 
and child, but never did they speak so home to my 
heart as on that bright day, above that sparkling 
6 



98 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



sea, surrounded by that crowd of strangers and of 
pilgrims. I felt, as I had scarcely ever felt before, 
on what a precarious tenure life is held, and the 
momentousness of death, as fixing forever the char- 
acter and the condition of the soul. When will 
this service be read over me? What will be my 
state when friends gather round my lifeless form ? 
The case of our departed fellow-traveller is solemnly 
impressive. She was in high health three days ago, 
but now her dead body is left far behind us, beneath 
the mighty deep. Wliy are we spared who still 

voyage on ? Mra. C had no idea this morning 

that death was near. It was a most lovely evening 
when the corpse was borne on deck, stretched on the 
captain's bed, the British flag shrouding the body 
of one of Britain's daughters, who, six weeks before, 
had left her shores with the praiseworthy purpose of 
improving her children's prospects by leaving her 
own fatherland. The sun was just setting, with 
tropical suddenness and splendor, and seemed like 
hers to go down while it was yet day. A gorgeous 
equatorial sky was stretched above us, and reflected 
in the heaving deep. There was no sound but the 
deep-voiced, measured reading of our soldier- 
chaplain, the lapping waves, the creaking timbers, 
the smothered sobs, the sudden splash. May we 
not hope, as well as pray, that through faith in the 
precious blood of Christ, our end may be peaoe, and 
our 7'eat he glorious f " 

"Sunday, 25th. — Divine service and disgraceful 
bickerings, both as usual' 







HIS RETURN TO MELBOURNE. 



m 



" 27th.— Finished Mungo Park's Travels. Wrote 
a letter to my old band-mate, Thomas Bonner." 

" 30th.— A child died." 

" 31st.— Amused myself by arranging 'What 
fairy-like Music ' for the emigrants." 

" Sunday, April 1st.— Ileard some of the boys 
read the New Testament, and questioned into them 
the second chapter of Matthew." 

"2d. — Arranged for the emigrants, 'Sound the 
loud Timbrel.' " 

«3(i. — Amused myself by arranging two hymn- 
tunes, which I hope to teach the emigrants. If we 
had but a piano, we should get on famously. At all 
events, singing and playing hymn- tunes will be a 
much better pastime than the poor emigrants are 
sometimes driven to by weariness and want of 
mental and spiritual resources, — such as women 
dressing themselves up in men's clothes." 

"Contrary wind for the last four days. Yerj 
wearisome ; perpetual tacking, but ' He holdeth the 
winds in Ilis flst,' and we will thankfully acquiesce 
in Ilis appointments. AVe have need of patience, 
and must ask for it." 

"5th. — Bead one of Wesley's Sermons, and 
studied a chapter of Cobbett's Grammar, in which I 
make slow progress, as we are making in our voy- 
age." "Stopped by the elements," in both cases; 
to borrow one of Byron's puns. 

" 9th. — Commenced reading a second time Bob- 
ertson's ' Charles V.' A great number of the 
emigrants ill. My dear wife and I are constantly 
hearing language of the most debasing kind May 



I 



100 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



it drive us to pray to the holy God, whose Spirit 
alone can save us from the demoralizing influence 
of ' the filthy conversation of the wicked ! ' " 

" 13th. — Have been greatly interested in reading 
the Books of Samuel and Kings continuously, as I 
read Alison and Robertson, without regard to the 
division into chapters, or breaking up the history 
into a daily portion. The Bible, Gobbet t, Eobert- 
son, Alison, Wesley, etc., stave off weariness. "With- 
out reading, how insupportable would be the tedium 
of a long voyage I " 

" 14th. — Copied several hymns, and composed a 
tune." 

" Sunday, 15th. — Gonfined to bed in a high fever 
from a severe cold ; but very happy from a sense of 
God's forbearing mercy towards me. Annie read to 
me one of Wesley's Sermons." 

" 16th.— Another death." 

" 18th. — Made a full statement of my affairs in 
my cash-book." 

" 20th. — Gopied some more hymns." 

" 23d. — Finished Ilobertson the second time." 

" 24:th. — Read Read's * Discourse on Watchful- 
ness,' and found in it quite sufficient to alarm me, 
and stir me up to earnest prayer." 

"25th. — Read a discourse on ^ Luke warmn ess,' 
with much benefit. I find it good for the soul to 
be always employed in reading, writing, arranging 
music, or taking exercise — pacing up and down 
deck. As the novelty of voyaging wears off, I find 
that I can occupy my time to great advantage." 

" Sunday, 29th. — The weather too squally for ser- 



f 



HIS EETURN TO MELBOUENE. 



101 



vice on deck. Annie and I and two of the passen- 
gers held it in the cabin." 

"May 2d.— Read the Life of Sir Francis Drake." 

« 4th.— Making but slow progress. Some of the 
passengers relieve the monotony by the cruel diver- 
sion of shooting the albatross and other birds— re- 
strained neither by the sailors' superstition, nor by 
Christian feeling." 

" 5th.— Weather very cold, so that the school- 
master was not able to teacli the children on deck, 
great numbers having the hooping-cough. He 
wished to instruct them between decks, for which 
he was deprived of his office by the doctor. I drew 
up for him a statement and protest." 

" Sunday, 6th.— Read H. Bonar, on ' The Blood of 
the Gross,' and Dr. Barth's ^History of the Church.' 
Was much quickened by perusing the account of the 
sufferings and heroism of the Christians, during the 
first three centuries. We are longing for a home- 
Sabbath." 

«7th. — Gne of our cabin-passengers used such 
coarse and impious language, that Mrs. Powell, who 
was seated next him, was obliged to retire to her 
own cabin. Gn my expostulating with him, far 
from apologizing, he threatened to make me hold 
my tongue. This, however, he found himself un- 
able to accomplish. The captain never checks these 
frequent obscenities and blasphemies." 

" 8th. — Annie employed herself in painting the 
poop. Saw a cape pigeon for the first time this 
voyage. A shoal of bottle-nosed whales passed us. 
Read several articles in Chambers' Journal — a capi- 



102 



LIFE OF WALTEE POWELL. 



ins RETURN TO MELBOURNE. 



103 



I 



il 



tal book for a long voyage — the articles being short 

and varied." 

" 9th.— Eead a Memoir of Louis Philippe." 

" 13th.— Another death." 

« 14th.— The father of the dead child demanded 
an inquiry into the cause of its death. An inquest 
was held in the captain's cabin. Witnesses exam- 
ined, and tlie evidence taken down before the cap- 
tain, Dr. , Mr. , and myself. The court sat 

for two hours and a half. Our finding was very 
unfavorable to one of the parties." 

" 15th. — Had a hard day's work copying the evi- 
dence taken yesterday. Ilave been able to take no 
observation of the sun for four days past, so that, 
having only our dead reckoning to rely on, we feel 
rather uncomfortable. We can, however, trust in 
Him, who neither ' slumbers by day, nor sleeps by 

night.'" 

" 18th. — Another married female emigrant died 

to-day." 

«19th. — Poor Mrs. Sheehan committed to the 
deep. As she- was a Eoman Catholic, her husband 
would not allow the Burial Service to be read. 
Alas! the emigrants seem now quite as little im- 
pressed by a burial at sea, as by an ordinary funeral 
on land. The drowning of a cat would have cre- 
ated a greater sensation. She has left seven chil- 
dren." 

" 22d.— Commenced Bigland's 'Letters on His- 
tory.' " 

" Sunday, 27th.— Service in the cabin, the wind 
being squally and unfavorable. Kead James on 



\ 



* The Duty of Meditation.' Surely we shall make 
much of our Sabbaths on shore, if spared to enjoy 
them again." 

"28th. — My twenty-seventh birthday. My few 
days have been full of evil on my part. May * the 
God of all grace ' root out all evil from my heart 
before the day of death arrives ! An infant severely 
hurt, and dangerously ill, througli the narrowness 
of the berth where it and its parents sleep ; only 
two feet nine inches wide ! " 

" June 2d. — Engaged in writing certificates for 
the captain." 

" Sunday, 3d. — Service internipted by a shower, 
and not resumed. Read Wesley's Sermon on * The 
Witness of the Spirit.' " 

" 4th. — At half -past three this morning, the cap- 
tain informed us that Cape Otway light-house was 
visible. I immediately rose, dressed, and went on 
deck. The sun rose brilliantly, and the shores of 
Australia looked pleasant to our eyes. The emi- 
grants forthwith began arranging their boxes. We 
cauMit a lar£re number of barracoots. We were al- 
most within the Heads ; but the tide running out, 
the wund falling, to our sore disappointment, we 
were obliged to put to sea again." 

"5th. — Distant many miles from the Heads. 
Towards evening, made out the light-house again, 
and the wind yielding a little in our favor, we hope 
to get in to-morrow." 

" 6th. — Entered the Heads this morning, had a 
beautiful run up the bay, and a very happy meeting 
with our friends, after nearly fourteen months' ab- 



104 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



I 
I 



sence, more than eight of which we have passed at 



sea. 



j> 



" 8th.— Occupied the whole of yesterday in pass- 
ing the entry of my goods ; to-day in looking for a 
house. Was much struck with the extension and 
improvement of the town. Its population is now 
estimated at 20,000." 

Mr. Powell at once recommenced his Church ac- 
tivities. 

" Sunday, 10th.— Visited the Melbourne Sunday- 

Bchool ; and attended Divine service." 

" 30th. — This week has been mainly occupied in 
getting up two lai-ge sales, which have gone off re- 
markably well ; so that, by the blessing of God, I 
hope to be soon able to discharge every obligation, 
and ^ owe no man anything but love.' 



> » 



CHAPTEE IX. 

HE SUCCEEDS IN BUSINESS. 

Mr. Powell had ventured his all, the reward of 
unremitting industiy, and resolute frugality, in the 
endeavor to form a connection with some two or 
three leading firms in England. His maternal aunt 
had become responsible for the first shipment of 
goods. This generous guarantee represents all the 
help that Mr. Powell ever had in his life. He took 
a situation for a year, in order to start on his owr 
account unencumbered by debt. His principal in- 
troductions had been to houses in the iron trade. 
This led him to commence as an importer of hard- 
ware, at firet, upon a very cautious scale. As clerk 
in an auctioneer's oflice he had no special acquaint- 
ance with any branch of business, but he possessed 
some invaluable elements of success — shrewdness, 
promptitude, punctuality, indomitable industry, a 
happy home, and trust in God. In connection with 
his wholesale warehouse, he opened a retail shop, 
"to weed off surplus stock." He expressed his 
resolution that if, after a fair trial, the undertaking 
did not promise success, he would retreat into a 
subordinate position, and content himself with that 
for life, unless Providence should make for him 
some clear opening out of it. He felt his way with 



106 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



I!: 



II 



II 



great humility, wariness, and Belf-control. At first 
he had mach toil with little profit. lie observed 
the most rigid economy ; never spending a shilling 
on luxury or self-indulgence. At the same time, he 
adhered to his plan of proportionate giving, and 
used hospitality without grudging, " being content 
with such things" as he had, and relying on the 
promise, " I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." 

At that date, Melbourne was a quiet though 
steadily thriving town. It had but two streets with 
any pretensions to regularity. Mr. Powell's was 
one of the few tall houses, surrounded by wooden 
huts, placed according to the convenience or fancy 
of the owners. But in 1851 the news burst upon 
its industrious tranquillity, that rich " gold-diggings" 
had been opened in the colony, within a hundred 
miles of the little capital. 

Forthwith almost the whole population caught the 
" yellow fever," and the greater part of the males 
abandoned home and business, and rushed to the 
gold-fields. For a time trade was suspended, and 
Melbourne almost depopulated, and tlie entire 
social system of the colony disjointed. Then thou- 
sands streamed in from all parts of the world. For a 
while Melbourne seemed to be a magnet, drawing to 
itself all the loose population of the globe. Wast- 
rels from Great Britain, " old lags" from Tasmania 
and New South Wales, superfluous Chinamen, Cali- 
fornian diggers precipitated themselves on Victoria, 
along with the more adventurous and sanguine of 
the industrious class. The worth of real estate was 
quadrupled ; month by month necessities rose to the 



HE SUCCEEDS IN BUSINESS. 



107 



i. 



i 



..'t 



price of luxuries ; the race for riches became reck- 
less, almost rapid. People seemed to think that 
gold would forever grow under the spade. Mr. 
Powell however had the good sense to see that his 
diggings lay at home. Many hundred spades threw 
gold into his till, and many a score of pickaxes 
brought the coined metal over his counter before 
they struck upon the auriferous quartz. No one 
toiled harder at the diggings than he in his store. 
Clerks and servants all forsook him. Every man 
his own clerk ^ every lady her own housemaid, was 
the order of the day. Mr. Powell had been guided 
to a business singularly suited to meet the utterly 
unforeseen demand. Money poured in ; but sorrow 
came along with it. Two sons were born and bur- 
ied in two years. The sudden and incessant influx 
of thousands a week, for whom there could be pro- 
vided no adequate accommodation, generated insidi- 
ous and malignant distempers. A sister of Mr. 
Powell died suddenly. A brother, to whom he was 
tenderly attached, and to forward whose interests 
he had recently made great exertions and sacrifices, 
was accidentally killed. Both brother and sister 
left large families unprovid-ed for, the care and 
maintenance of most of whom Mr. Powell at once 
undertook. Scarlet fever and measles of an aggra- 
vated type attacked the family. Mr. Powell was 
suddenly seized with dangerous illness. Soon after 
his recovery he was called to give up his firet-bom 
son, his fourth-born into the land of the blessed. 
He had gone to Geelong, sixty miles from Mel- 
bourne, to attend the annual District Meeting, for 



108 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



1 



HE SUCCEEDS IN BUSINESS. 



109 



the transaction of the financial business of the Meth- 
odist Churches in Victoria. He was to remain 
there from Wednesday until the Monday following. 
On the evening of Thursday a strong premonition 
fell upon him of some calamity impending over his 
household. He spent the greater part of the night 
in prayer. In the morning his foreboding deepened 
into certainty, and although the very business was 
in hand which his Church-offices required him to 
transact, and he had that day to bring in a special 
report, he left his document with the chairman, and 
immediately took the steamer home. Had he de- 
layed he would never again have seen his child 
alive— our little voyager, who five years before had 
come into the world upon the high seas, ofE " the 

formidable Horn." 

Nothing can require less intelligence than to sneer 
at phenomena, which are not of rare occurrence in 
the experience of the man of prayer, and nothing 
can betray a more uncandid stolidity, or a more 
grossly unscientific blinking of well-authenticated 
data, than to summarily discredit them. If science 
cannot explain these occurrences, let it honestly ad- 
mit that there are undeniable facts which lie beyond 
its sphere. Why should it be thought a thing in- 
credible that men who live in the constant and in- 
tense realization of the invisible world, should have 
experiences which never occur to men whose tastes 
and- talents, explorations and acquisitions, are in 
quite another direction? And the spiritually- 
minded man of business is at least as likely to come 
upon such wonders as the caverned hermit. The 
Father of the Faithful was a grazier when God 




said, " Shall I hide from Abraham the thing which 
I do ? " And it was the ploughman Elisha who said 
with wonder of an afflicted friend, " Her soul is 
vexed within her : and the Lord hath hid it from 
me, and hath not told me." Mr. Powell wa^ no 
enthusiast. His was a manly faith. His piety was 
as sensible and practical as it was profound and all- 

peiTading. 

No fewer than eight deaths occurred in one 
branch or other of Mr. Powell's family during this 
one year. He attributed to the admonitions and 
consolations of the Holy Spirit accompanying this 
terrible but timely discipline his preservation from 
the intoxicating effects of sudden and rapid prosper- 
ity. The severe but gracious husbandry of Provi- 
dence prevented thorns from springing up and 
choking the good seed. Meanwhile he in no wise 
relaxed his assiduous attention to business, perceiv- 
ing that he worked beneath " the golden weather " 
of a brief and precarious harvest-time. He made 
judicious investments of his rapidly-increasing prop- 
erty, purchasing land, building stores in new neigh- 
borhoods, and extending his business connections. 
His habits of systematic beneficence and spontane- 
ous generosity were strengthened, not impaired, by 
the sudden influx of success. His liberality never 
lagged behind his pecuniary prosperity. 

The following letter shows in what spirit he re- 
ceived the loss of his first-born son. 

*'Melbouiixe South, Sunday afternoon. 

"Rev. and dear Sir, 

" That which I so greatly feared has come upon 



^ T ^,.. - ^l 



110 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



Ill 



me : my cup of bitterness is almost full ; my darling 
boy has just departed, and with him our brightest 
hopes on earth. I left him in health, and returned 
from Geelong to find Jiim on the bed of death. 
May the Lord help us, for we have great need of 
Him! 

" I have been pleading with God day and night 
to save him, but He saw good to take him. We 
have strong consolation in the certainty that he has 
entered into the joy of his Lord; and the terrible 
stroke says, * Be ye also ready.' 

" Such has been the nature of the disease, that 
we dare not keep him longer than a day, and we 
have again to solicit your attendance at the ceme- 
tery at half-past four to-morrow. May I trespass 
upon your kindness to choose me in the new ground 
one of the most lovely spots for my dear son, and 
may I request that sufficient ground may be marked 
out for a family vault? There is no one beside 
yourself whom we should like to bury our child. 
You have married us, baptized our child, and buried 
our two sons. 

" Your greatly afflicted brother, 

"Walter Powell." 

The place he held in the "heart's just estimation " 
of those who were most closely connected with him 
in business, may be gathered from the subjoined 
testimony of a gentleman wlio was first his assistant, 
then manager of one of his businesses in Victoria, 
and at last his partner. He states : 

" My acquaintance with Mr. Powell dates from 



HE SUCCEEDS IN BUSINESS. 



Ill 



*) 



I 

1 



1849. At that time I was a lad, * a stranger in a 
strange land,' having come to Melbourne to begin 
life, away from home and friends. The kindly wel- 
come he gave me to his house, where I became a 
frequent visitor, has left an indelible impression 
on my memory : it forms one of the greenest spots 
in my past life. It is very plain to me that the 
kindly Christian anxiety on behalf of a young man 
entering life prompted his hospitality. I soon left 
Melbourne, and obtained a situation in Hobart 
Town ; but the gold being discovered here, I has- 
tened back, bent on going to the diggings, and was 
only prevented by the wise expostulations of Mr. 
Powell ; and my idea of risking my health in this 
way was banished by his offer of employment. 

" Thus my business connection with him began in 
what we look back upon as the ' busy times ; ' and 
I can picture liim as he was then, full of energy, 
doing the work of three men, now serving custom- 
ers, now buying gold, then snatching a few minutes 
to write letters, working hard early and late to keep 
his business under control ; and, in the midst of all 
this activity, never forgetting the class-meeting or 
the Sabbath-school, and loving the public woi-ship 
of the Lord's day. The trying ordeal he thus passed 
tln-ough, left his Christian character unchanged- 
He was the same genial friend when prosperous and 
immersed in business affairs, as when struggling and 
comparatively low. The crowd of occupation did 
not cause him to forget the intimacies of less stir- 
ring times. He loved old friends, and was gra- 
ciously preserved from f orgetf ulness of the ' Friend 



112 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



r J 



II 



that Bticketh closer than a brother.' As his busi- 
ness prospered, he promptly recognized the claims 
of benevolence, and lent a ready hand to the va- 
rious schemes then laid to meet the exigencies of the 
time." 

The Eev. J. C. Symons, then one of the Wes- 
leyan ministers in Melbourne, thus records his rec- 
ollections : " Those who were in the colony at that 
time do not need any description of the marvellous 
change in Melbourne ; those who have come since 
could not understand any description which might 
be given. Business at that time made terrible de- 
mands upon the energies. The rush of people was 
so sudden, its extent so unprecedented, and the 
wdiole of the circumstances so novel, that men in 
business were sorely taxed. Besides, the means 
and appliances for doing so suddenly extended a 
trade were not at hand. Mr. Powell felt this, and 
was fully aware of the spiritual peril to which he 
was exposed ; but he sought strength from on high, 
and was preserved from that worldliness and greed of 
gain into which so many fell. Often did he remark 
to me, * I am in this position, I must work as I do, 
or close np my business : there is no middle course. 
I would have more help if it were possible ; but 
with such a press of business, and the small space 
in which to do it, additional hands would be only in 
the way, would, in fact, be liindrances rather than 
helps.' lie was unable at this period to give all the 
personal service in the Church which he desired. 
*I can't give you much time,' he would say to me; 
* that is impossible ; but if you will undertake the 



HE SUCCEEDS IN BUSINESS. 



113 



J 






work, I will help you with money.' And well he 
fulfilled his promise, not only in the liberal contri- 
butions which he gave towards the erection of 
places of worship, and the various enterprises of the 
Church, but also in the large responsibilities which 
he, with other excellent men of that time, readily 
undertook, and without which the Methodist Church 
of Victoria could never have been in the position 
she is in to-day. He found time, however, even 
when thus pressed, to attend, and take part, in 
many public meetings, and thus to aid with his 
presence, as well as with his purse." 

The Rev. W. Butters writes: "In 1851, when 
gold was discovered in Victoria, Mr. Powell was 
one among our most active office-bearers, and not- 
withstanding the urgent claims of business, he was 
but seldom absent from his post. No description 
that I could give would convey anything like an ac- 
curate and adequate idea of that state of confusion 
into which everything was then thrown, and of our 
utter inability to guess what would be on the mor- 
row, or what new action sudden emergencies might 
require." 

All this happened when business was yet new to 
him. The strain and pressure, both mental and 
physical, were excessive and unintermitted. One 
would not have been surprised if, in such circum- 
stances, his spiritual life had scarcely found room 
to grow. But the good seed had fallen into good 
ground, well pulverized by deep conviction of sin, 
and softened by the warm showers of genuine re- 
pentance. His strenuous effort was to keep the 



liyiw. | .u,i n'g ^ 



114: 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



passing world and the eternal world in their jnst 
relati\^ positions. His guiding principle was still 
to " ^eok first the kingdom of God." And this was, 
after all, his highest and happiest success. This 
swift deluge of care, perplexity, and prosperity, 
utterly unforeseen, did not carry him off his feet. 
He still daily exercised himself unto godliness. 
This sudden summer of prosperity, after the long 
winter of anxiety, did not blight his kindly, gener- 
ous sensibilities, but made them "blossom as the 
rose." He recognized the orphans, the widows, and 
the unfortunate, as the proper wards of the success- 
ful. He did not deem it an unreasonable expecta- 
tion in his less prosperous relatives and friends, that 
they should be substantially the better for his rapid 
rise in wealth and in position. He learnt " fii-st to 
show piety at home." In like manner the deep in- 
terest in the cause of God, which he had manifested 
in his straits, flourished vigorously in his successes. 
At the very last Quarterly Meeting of the Mel- 
bourne Circuit, before the news of the gold-fields 
broke upon the town, whilst from sensitive dread of 
debt he was scarcely allowing himself sufficient 
nourishment, he was one of twelve individuals who 
guaranteed $30 a-piece, towards the outfit and pas- 
sage-money of two additional missionaries. Whilst 
the thirst for gold raged like an epidemic, and the 
wild hope of making a fortune in a few weeks was 
absorbing all the energies of the majority, leaving 
little room for a regard to public or eternal inter- 
ests, half-emptying the places of worship, reducing 
the class-meetings to skeletons, and sweeping away 



HE SUCCEEDS IN BUSINESS. 



115 



1 



\ 






"the greater number of the class-leaders and lo- 
cal preachers" to the huge scramble for the pre- 
cious metal, and thus deranging all the evangehstic 
and educational machinery of the Church, Walter 
Powell kept faithfully to his post. 

In 1855 Mr. Powell removed to Prahran, a rural 
suburb of Melbourne ; for the Victorian merchants, 
like the British and American, have adopted the 
healthy custom of living out of town. This change 
was made in the hope of improving his own health 
and that of Mrs. Powell. We again quote Mr. Sy- 
mons : " There, as leading the service of song, as a 
worker in the Sabbath-school, and as a class-leader, 
he did good service ; service which is most gratefully 
remembered. It was very touching, on the Sabbath 
immediately following the intelligence of his death, 
at a love-feast held in the new church at Prahran, to 
hear one after another referring to him, testifj^ing 
to the kindness and wisdom of his counsels on their 
first arrival in the colony, or to his having spoken 
to them and invited them to join the Church, or to 
the piety of his daily life. Such tributes are worth 
more than storied marble or than sculptured urn." 

The following extracts from a letter to the Pev. 
W. Butters may not unfittingly close this chapter : 

*' Melbourne, Jvly 17, 1855. 

"My dear Mr. Butters: 

" The letters of Mrs. Butters and yourself reached 
us safely. I postponed a reply until business should 
permit me to make one comfortably ; not that it 
is a task to write to an old and dear friend, but I 



116 



UFE OF WALTER roWELL. 



like, when writing to one who has a place in onr 
™^' t'' Siyo something more than a few hasty 

" In the Methodist world little has been done of 
late. We have been wise enough to lie on our oai-s 
during the settling of the surging tide. I think 
now however, commercially speaking, the efflux has 
nearly ceased ; after which the reflux will commence. 
We seem at present to be just at that point where 
the waters do ' neither one nor t'other.' 

"Methodists, you know, are no idle spectators of 
8uch matters. I must no longer make you to doubt 
by dealmg m parables, but come to plain matter-of- 
fact detail. Stranded, then, lie first and foremost 
tlie Oollins Street chapel and sdiool-room. Fortu- 
nately, however, this is the only great difficulty M-e 
have, nearly all the other chapel debts behig owed 
by Methodists to Methodists. 

" Mr. Bickford continues to work quietly, but use- 
fully and earnestly, at Brighton ; and, being ' a <rood 
man and full of faith and of the Holy Ghost,' will 
undoubtedly be successful 

" At Collingwood a school-house is in course of 
erection, the foundation having been laid in conse- 
quence of some frail promises of help from the 
school board, which, having no money, cannot give 
any ; wherefoi* the Collingwoodites have shrewdly 
determined to depend on themselves. 

" I think our Church will, on the whole, be much 
improved and strengtlieued, both in numbers and 
Bpmtuality, through the late trying scenes. It is 
time that pure religion and undefiled should bemn 



HE SUCCEEDS IN BUSINESS. 



117 



to make its way ; and unless the Methodists lead, 
who will? As it is, the Papists, by their unremit- 
ting watchfulness, are fast taking up every post 
where their influence will be felt. I hope soon to 
break off many fetters thrown around me by the 
events of 1854, and again take an active part in the 

great work. 

" Yours affectionately, 

"Walter Powell." 



v 



I 



i 



CHAPTER X. 

LOVE TO GOD MANIFESTING ITSELF m CHRISTIAN 

CHARITY. 

It is the reproach of our age that among our 
active business men, the rush, hurry, and pressure 
of commercial life leaves no leisure for tlie contem- 
plation of great truths and great principles; and 
that in consequence the meditative spirit is dying 
out ; the reverential and thoughtful elements of our 
nature have, it is said, no opportunity of develop- 
ment, except in those retired by-places where they 
can exert no influence on the world of living active 
men. 

Yet here was a man who, in the words of one 
who knew him most thoroughly, was for years so 
energetic in business tliat he constantly did the work 
of tliree men ; who kept up to tlie demands of a 
rapidly growing and most variable market, under 
tlie most difficult circumstances ; who endured 
great and deep afflictions, the loss of children and 
of near and dear relatives, sickness and sorrow upon 
sorrow; a man on whose shoulders lay heavy bur- 
dens in the secular affairs of a Church which was 
trying to expand itself to supply the spiritual needs 
of a rapidly increasing population; a man whose 
counsel and judgment were invaluable in matters of 



-v„ 



LOVE TO GOD IN CHRISTIAN CHARITY. 



119 




Church and state ; and yet with all his cares, labors, 
burdens, and anxieties, he managed to find time for 
self-examination, for careful introspection, for the 
study of God's Word, and for that calm contempla- 
tion of the present and the future, which, amid the 
turmoil and confusion, the mad strife and roar of 
the waves of an excitement such as the world has 
seldom seen, kept him anchored safely and firmly 
" to that within the veil." How did he manage to 
combine these diverse, and as some would think, in- 
compatible qualities, the highest activity, and the 
most profoundly contemplative spirit ? Let the 
apostle answer for us : " he endured, as seeing Him 
who is invisible." In youth, in the time of poverty 
and illness, he had formed this habit of communion 
with God and his own soul, until it had grown to be 
his life, and now, in the time when he most needed 
it, this habit steadied him, and kept him above all 
earthly excitements and agitations, where his soul 
at every, even momentary, pause in business, flew 
upward, like the captive bird let loose from its 
cage, and sought its supremest joy in communion 
with God. If we sought for evidence of the rare 
abilities with which God had endowed his servant, 
where could we find those which would be so con- 
clusive as this faculty of living in and yet above the 
world? of enjoying the full sunlight of heaven, 
while down in the murky depths of an all-engrossing 
commercial life? With God, be it remembered, 
the humble, lowly, contemplative spirit which de- 
lights in His Word and His works, is far more 
highly esteemed than the most brilliant intellect, 



120 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



< • 



? I 



which in its proud self-reliance forgets the Creator 
■who endowed it with such rich gifts. 

No sooner did Mr. Powell find himself m posses- 
sion of a moderate degree of ready money and of 
attainable leisure, than he began forthwith to 
secure that money and that le sure for the noble 
conceivable ol)jccts. He did not ^ay, " I BhaU 
wait till I am worth so much money, and can re- 
tire from business altogether, and then the Church 
hall ... n.y .eal for tUe Lord of KostsT De ec^ 
ing the excursive tendencies of hoarded or even 
well-invested riches, he kept their wings well dip- 
ped- and seeing that leisure without some passion- 
'aL pursuit is dull torture and --dio- temp^ion 
he resolved, more likely he intuitively fel, tha he 
1st cultiv'ate an interest in 7;— J^^^^^ 
• whilst they benefited othere, won d bring into his 
Twn breast a rich return of God-like Batisfaction. 

The Eev. Mr. Butters has kindly furnished the 
subjoined list of the principal --— .^ J^ 
Mr. Powell took a principal part at this critical 
Deriod of the religious history of Y ictoria : 
^ « 1 Our Sunday-schools, which he was very 
ready to help both by personal service and by las 

^TJ Increased ministerial strength . to overtake 
thP ramdlv growing wants of the community. _ 
«; TheitabliSiment of the Wesleyan Immi- 

^TfSonal Church accommodation for the 
thousands who were constantly pom-ing into the 
colony. 



LOVE TO GOD IN CTEISTIAN CHARITY. 121 

« 5. Ministerial and Church provision for the gold- 
fields which threatened, unless immediate and 
effective measures were taken, to deluge the colony 

with vice and crime. 

« 6 The formation of the Australian AVesleyan 
Mission Churches into a distinct and independent 
communion, witli a Conference of its own. 

" 7. The estahlishment of a Book Depot m Mel- 
bourne, r. ,TT 1 /-IT 

" 8. The erection and furnishing of W esley Col- 
lege." 

To all these objects he devoted earnest attention, 
and made large contributions. A just estimate will 
not be formed of the generosity, the public spirit 
the quickness, keenness, and breadth of view, and 
the prompt recognition of responsibility displayed 
by Mr. Powell, amidst a state of things as unprece- 
dented as it was unforeseen, unless we bear in mind 
the fact that these were the contributions, the plans, 
and the toils, of a hard-driven young man, who 
gave as fast as he got, and under the pressure of 
private anxieties lavished time, thought, and strength, 
as well as hard-earned money, upon the public ser- 
vice. 

Of his Sunday-school labors we need not say 
more ; and the urgent necessity of increased minis- 
terial strength, in a city which sometimes witnessed 
a thousand new arrivals in a day, is too obvious to 
require comment. Of the other movements, it may 
be well to make a brief recoi'd. 

1. The establishment of the Wesleyan Immi- 
grants' Ilome. When tens of thousands a month 

6 



122 



UFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



were streaming into the then compai^tively Bmall 
and ill-appointed town, nearly the whole even of 
the most respectable immigrants, however able and 
willin- to pay for decent accommodation could 
only find nightly shelter amidst physical and moral 
disorder and pollution which alike forbid and defy 
description. Individuals of the best character and 
of ample means were obliged to walk the streets of 
the city whole nightB, not being able to ' obt^^;^^^' 
commodation of any kind, on any terms School- 
rooms, vestries, even churches, were devoted to the 
charitable object of providing a p ace where bewil- 
dered strangers might lay their heads, who other, 
wise must have passed the night m the streets 
During this state of things, July, 1852, a society 
SSng was called by the Rev. W. Butters, then 
Superintendent of the Circuit, " to dev.se mean 
for obtaining additional ministers." Mr PoweU 
rose to speak under strong emotion, which he was 
for some time unable to repress. He stated that on 
that day, in passing along the street, he had observ- 
ed a woman weeping, and apparent y m deep dis- 
tress. On inquiring the cause he learnt that he 
was a member of the Wesleyan Church, who had 
landed on the preceding day, having come from 
Tasmania to join her husband at the Ballaarat gold- 
diggings. She had been unable to obtam sleeping 
pufe or shelter, every available spot being crowded 
and had been compelled to pass the night on the 
wharf with no other protection than that afforded 
by a cask. ^' He concluded his little narrative by 
asking, ^Why not have an Immigrants Home of 



LOVE TO GOD IN CHEISTIAN CHARITY. 123 

our own ? ' * Why not ? ' was re-echoed from various 
parts of the chapel. ' I will give $250 towards it,' 
said the proposer. ' I will give $250,' said another. 
< I will help,' said a third. ' I will give all the 
ready money I have,' said a fourth." The scheme 
thus incidentally started was promptly and vigor- 
ously carried out. A successful application was 
immediately made to the Government for the grant 
of a suitable piece of land ; upwards of $3,500 
were subscribed at a public meeting called for the 
furtherance of the object ; and " in less than ten 
days " from the fii-st suggestion of the movement, 
the arrangements for commencing the erection were 
complete. The site granted by His Excellency, 
C. J. Latrobe, Esq., was an eminence commanding 
a beautiful view, with an open square in front, and 
a reserve for public gardens at the rear. The word 
" HOME," in large capitals, greeted the wistful 
eye of the immigrant, when he first felt the heart 
of a stranger in a strange land. The object was 
not only to give a few nights' shelter away from 
the squalid discomfort and the moral and physical 
contaminations of the lairs called lodging-houses, 
but also "to save from utter apostasy those who 
might have suffered spiritual loss " during a long 
voyage, amidst a promiscuous and unimproving 
companionship, and to remind them, in the most 
kindly and telling manner, that their abandonment 
of country and kindred, in hope of finding a short 
cut to wealth and ease, did not lessen the importance 
and urgency of their eternal interests, or divest 
them of their Christian responsibilities. The effort 



124 



j.nr R OF WALTER POWELL. 



i' 



^as to assimilate all the internal arrangemen s and 
u..<^es, aB much as possible, to those of a happy 
Christian family. The immigrants were at once m^ 
troduced into a hearty, loving, Chnst.an society and 
found themselves breathing a pure bnght, kindlj , 
bracing, spiritual atmosphere. Family worship was 
Llemid^ed morning and evening in the large r<x,m 
where worship of the dear old home kind was held 
every Sabbath, and at least on one other evening in 
the week. Prayer-meetings and experiencc-meet- 
S!!s were also conducted, and most of the appliances 
of Methodism, for reviving and ^t-'-^S/ 'f ^"'^ 
ual life, and for making the members of Us chnnito 
conscious of their common life, were in full opera- 
tion The building comprised one dining-room, ac- 
Smmodating two hundred persons, a sleeping-room 
for one hundred, one hospital for males, another fo 
females, a library, and reading-room and private 
apartments for the governor and "^'^fon It bad 
also a large store for immigrants' luggage, a kitchen, 
a servanrs' room, a wash-house, a bake-house, and a 
a a Ly. Thea^ountof bodily,mental and spu-i^a 
refreshment, solace and protection, which was thus 
itlTto Ihousands deprived of f «- — 
supports and restraints, and many of them re-ec.o- 
Z the Prophet's cry, "Weep not for the dead, bat 
"fep -re for him that goeth away,^.^"^ be ^^ l^ 
niatid. Perhaps the true scriptural idea o lu^pi- 
tality-^..., friendliness to stranff^^^-^^ > - - 
xnore effectively carried out on such a ^^^Ic. "t « 
was a home for the homeless, a welcome to the waii- 
Ter, rit by the fireside, and an affectionate ad- 



i 



LOVE TO GOD IN CHRISTIAN CHARITY. 125 

mission to the family circle for those who were cut 
off from kindred and from fatherland. Here was 
a sweet smile for the weather-beaten face, a warm 
clasp for the purseless hand, a gentle tone for the 
heart that yearned for loved voices far away, a 
home Church, a family altar, a clean bed, a soft 
pillow for the weary head, and an exceeding precious 
promise for the weary heart. Perhaps the vener- 
able and almost obsolete virtue of hospitality — not 
friendliness to friends, but friendliness to strangers 
— which the patriarchal religion bequeaths to the 
elevated ethics of the Gospel, and which the simple 
manners of classical antiquity commend to our ad- 
vanced Christian civilization, never received a more 
congenial entertainment. How much more deserv- 
ing is this of the name of that antique duty of 
hospitality which Christianity has enrolled amongst 
its heavenly train of graces, than the luxurious com- 
panionship around the festive board, the round of 
parties by which familiar acquaintanceship is ce- 
mented or commenced, that now usurp the name ! 

Whilst the primary object of the Wesleyan Im- 
migrants' Home was to make provision for the 
members of the Wesleyan Church, it was part of 
the originators' plan to extend the advantage of the 
institution without restriction to members of other 
Churches. These principles, prominently set forth 
at the commencement, have been strictly acted upon, 
as will be manifest from the following facts. Dur- 
ing the first fifteen months of its existence, the num- 
ber of persons accommodated in the Home was two 
thousand seven hundred and seventy-three. Fancy 



t' , 



126 I'l^^ ^^ WALTER POWELL. 

what an aggregate of misery and temptation pre- 
Tnted of immediate comfort and permanent bene- 
fittecui^dl The proportions in which the vanous 
denotations of Christendom contributed rec.p.ents 
were as follows : 

^ , 1,335 

Wesleyans g^^ 

Episcopalians ^^ 

Independents ^^^ 

I^aptists 229 

Presbyterians ^^ 

Lutherans qq 

Eoman Catliolics ^ 

Friends * *,' * V ka 

Primitives, and other Methodist offshoots 60 

Moravians - 

Add to these Jews '^ 

2,773 

In connection with the Home was a register 
office, for supplying in* ormation to parties on th^ir 
arrival. The cost of the bmldmg was $17,500. Mr. 
?Lell subsequently contributed largely to the for- 
mation of a still moLexteneive institution sustamed 
by the general public, whose tardier philanthropy 
Ed been stimulated by the example of the Wesley- 
ans This was called the Immigrants' Aid Socie y. 
Jutill exists, affording effective help to numbers who 

have fallen ^^'^ ^^''^^- ^* ^' "^f "^ <■ . 
L; society, Mr. Powell was one of tiie most a«Uve 

administrators. 



LOVE TO GOD IN CHRISTIAN CHARITY. 127 

2. Additional Church accommodation, to meet the 
wants of the thousands who were pouring into the 
colony. Even before the rush into Victoria com- 
menced, the Church accommodation was deplorably 
inadequate to the demands of the steadily growing 
population. The gold discoveries, which created the 
necessity for enormous Church extension, cast up 
the most formidable obst^icles to the accomplishment 
of the very modest and cautious plans which had 
been already initiated. The price of labor and 
building materials rose hi proportion to the demand 
for both. True, wealth increased, but a very small 
proportion of that wealth came into the hands of 
those who were laying to heart the spiritual necessi- 
ties of the times. The chronic worldliness of the 
community had, by this sudden stimulus, been aggra- 
vated into delirium. As the love of money raged, 
the love of souls waxed cold in many hearts. For a 
while the decrease of religious earnestness in the 
Church was in proportion to the increase of intem- 
perance, debauchery, and the frantic lust of gold. 
Only a few found time or heart to reflect that this 
was the crisis in the religious history of the colony. 
A severer testing-time to character can scarcely be 
conceived. It could not but become apparent then 
who really cared for the cause of God. The popu- 
lation of Melbourne had quadrupled in six months. 
It had already eighty thousand inhabitants, eight 
thousand of whom, unable to procure houses, were 
dwelling in tents. Every new cargo of colonists 
seemed to accelerate the progress of demoralization. 
In one twelvemonth hamlets had become towns, 



128 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



and towns had swelled into vast commercial centres. 
New townsliips were springing up on every side. 
Soffala, "the canvas city," Ballaarat, with sixty 
thousand souls, Mount Alexander, Bendigo, etc., had 
started into existence. There was, besides, a vast 
moving multitude, who followed the rumor of some 
new gold-find. The comparatively few earnest, 
thoughtful Christians felt that the spiritual destinies 
of the colony were, to a very great extent, in their 
hands. And right nobly were they enabled to do 
their duty. At such a time not only money, but 
judgment was required, and, by the grace of God, 
both were forthcoming in a very remarkable mea- 
sure. By nnivei-sal and grateful admission, one of 
the largest contributors of both requisites was Mr. 
Powell. A gentleman of Melbourne writes: "To 
my knowledge, nearly every church, of every denom- 
ination, in and around Melbourne, secured the help 
of his pui-se. One transaction incidentally shows 
how his business abilities, as well as his business pro- 
ceeds, were placed at the service of the Church. In 
consideration of the extravagant costliness, not only 
of labor, but also of the ordinary building materials, 
it was deemed expedient to resort to iron. Mr. 
Powell's acquaintance with the iron trade here stood 
the Church in good stead. A large shipment of gal- 
vanized and corrugated iron was obtained from Eng- 
land. On its receipt, however, the state of things 
had so far changed that it was not thought desirable 
to use the metal to the extent formerly contemplated. 
The surplus was sold at a profit of about $4,000, 



LOVE TO GOD IN CHEISTIAN CHARITY. 



129 



which was applied opportunely to the building fund 
for the erection of town and suburban chapels." 

3. Ministerial and Church provision for the 
gold-fieUs. In 1852, at Mount Alexander alone, 
eighty miles from Melbourne, there were between 
twenty and thirty thousand persons digging for 
gold, among whom were hundreds of members of 
the Wesleyan Methodist societies, without a single 
Wesleyan minister. At Bendigo, the " rushes," the 
violent alternations of immigration and exodus, ac- 
cumulation and dispersion, changed the statistics of 
population by twenty thousand in a month. The 
temptations to intemperance were tenfold greater 
than in England. Profiigacy, and adventurous 
marriage after a few days' acquaintance, w^ere gen- 
erating all manner of social mischiefs. Hundreds 
proved to what a sad extent their religion and mo- 
rality had depended on their surroundings. Both 
the one and the other, built upon the sand, fell, 
when home restraints and home supports w^ere left 
behind. Besides all this, great numbers, like the 
young heir in the parable, had come "into a far 
country," for the very purpose of making the worst 
of themselves, without interference from a father's 
authority, or a mother's tears, or a public opinion 
leavened, in great part created, by long-working 
Christianity. They had sought the antipodes, eager 
both to make money and to spend it. These new 
towns became ghastly emporiums of sensuality and 
sin. The diggings became conservatories of vice, 
huge hotbeds, where moral weeds and poisons flour- 
ished in tropical luxuriance. Into this reeking 
6* 



I 



130 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



' t 



P( 



itK ' 



caldron of a corrupted Christian civilization, many 
thousands of Chinamen brought their obscene 
heathen habits. Whence could there come a louder 
call for a strong body of faithful evangelists? 

4. The formation of the Australian Wesleyan 
Mission Churches into a distinct and independent 
communion^ with a Conference of its own. It was 
never the design of British Methodism either to 
endow or control Australian Methodism in perpe- 
tuity. So soon as they found themselves in a fair 
way to provide for their own exigencies, and to 
manage their own affairs, the Australian Methodist 
Churches ceased to be dependencies, and became 
associated, or, as the more endearing and descriptive 
phrase is, " Affiliated Conferences." Indeed, they 
were allowed autonomy before they felt themselves 
quite ready for financial independence. The axiom 
of apostolic Christianity announced by St. Paul was 
thus illustrated by the maternal instincts of Meth- 
odism. " The children ought not to lay up for the 
parents, but the parents for the children." The 
desire of the Australian Methodists to sustain the 
responsibilities of manhood so soon as they were 
conscious of the energies of manhood, was credit- 
able to them; whilst the readiness of the British 
Conference to recognize their ability, and to encour- 
age their willingness, evidenced that sagacity which 
belongs to singleness of aim. As to the latter, it 
showed that the light of their council-fire did not 
bum dim. A huge Bomanistic centralization is as 
opposed to the true idea of a Church as cerebral con- 
gestion is adverse to muscular and mental efficiency. 



LOVE TO GOD IN CHBISTIAN CHABITY. 131 

The difference between economy and parsimony or 
penuriousness is perhaps nowhere better illustrated 
than in Methodist missionary administration. The 
secret of its unparalleled extent and effectiveness, as 
compared with its resources, must not be sought in 
niggardly disbursement, but in lessons of self-help 
to its robust and numerous offspring. Mr. Powell's 
direct, practical intelligence, his manly trust in God, 
and his enterprising generosity, led him to enter 
heartily into this project 

5. The establishment of a Wesleyan Booh Depot 
in Melbourne. Of this the B«v. J. C. Symons says : 
" The Wesleyan Book Depot, if it does not owe its 
existence to Mr. Powell, is at least largely indebted 
to him for its present position. In order to secure 
for it the premises in which its business is carried 
on, he gave $2,500." On the same subject, the 
Keport of the Melbourne District Meeting, 1860, 
contains the following record: "Walter Powell, 
Esq., having presented to the Book Committee 
books of the value of nearly $750, on condition 
that the Wesleyans of Victoria would raise a simi- 
lar amount, and having also engaged to present a 
still further supply to the former on the same con- 
dition, the very cordial thanks," etc. 

Mr. Symons adds, " Though his conditions were 
not complied with, he gave his first contribution of 
books, but devoted the second $750 to the purchase 
of furniture for the book-steward's residence." 

6. The erection and furnishing of Wesley Col- 
lege. On this point Mr. Symons testifies : " To no 
man is that noble institution, Wesley College, so 



132 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



much indebted as to Mr. Powell. His gifts to its 
building fund exceeded $1,500, but he gave to it 
what money could not purchase, earnest personal 
service." From the fii-st he acted as secretary to 
the College Committee. 

Surely no one can contemplate without dismay 
the enormous growth of merely commercial col- 
onies, on which but few and feeble influences, in- 
tellectual, moral, and spiritual, shall be brought to 
bear. A monster money-making England at the 
antipodes, minus Englisli culture. Christianized 
public opinion, and religious services and agencies, 
would be a chaos and a curse. But it required men 
of deep minds and deep characters, like Daniel 
Draper, Walter Powell, and others who survive 
them, to realize the immediate exigency, and rouse 
themselves and the public to meet effectually the 
higher wants of the rapidly multiplying community. 

The object of Wesley College was to provide a 
high-class Christian education for the general public 
of Victoria, and for the Wesleyans especially. The 
scheme was launched in 1853, Mr. Powell being 
chosen a member of the Committee of Manage- 
ment. Owing to the fluctuating condition of af- 
fairs, the violent oscillations of trade, and the out- 
rageous price of labor and material, but slow 
progress was made at first. In the following year, 
the sum of $100,000 was voted by the Government 
for the establishment of grammar schools, and 
allotted to the various religious denominations in 
proportion to their numerical strength as indicated 
by the census. $13,847 fell to the share of the 



LOVE TO GOD IN CHKISTIAN CIIAErTY. 



133 



Wesleyans, in two successive grants. Ten acres 
and a half of land, in a choice situation, were sub- 
sequently obtained from the Government, and a 
large and handsome, and every way suitable, build- 
ing erected and furnished, at a cost of eighty-five 
thousand dollars. We shall have to recur to the 
two last-named entei-prises in a later portion of our 
narrative. 

But whilst Mr. Powell was so intent upon the 
accomplishment of the- mission of Methodism in 
Australia Felix and the fulfilment of its duty to 
those strange and stirring times, he by no means 
confined either his liberality or his exertions within 
the boundary of that large and expanding commu- 
nity. We have seen that he contributed to almost 
every church in that rapidly -growing neighborhood, 
where churches were springing up on every hand, 
and that he was a munificent supporter and an ac- 
tive member of the General Emigrants' Aid Society. 
In the service of this philanthropic institution and 
of the Benevolent Asylum he labored day by day. 
He threw himself enthusiastically into all philan- 
thropic plans, and all movements of public utility. 
He contributed a large sum towards the establish- 
ment of one of the daily newspapers of Melbourne, 
in which he had no pecuniary interest, moved by a 
pure conviction that a paper was needed which 
might call attention to many important social ques- 
tions that were in danger of being overlooked. One 
instance of his generosity, which gives a glimpse 
of his nobility of character, must not be omitted. 
Learning that Mr. Hargreave, the discoverer of the 



134 



UFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



ih 



h»" 



Australian gold-fields, was very little advantaged by 
a scientific revelation which had enriched so many 
thousands, Mr. Powell most gracefully sent to hnii 
anonymously, through the editor of the "Argus 
newspaper, $1,250, as an acknowledgment of his 
own pei-sonal indebtedness, and his sense of Mr. 
Hargreave's claim on the public gratitude.* 

But in a very short time the flood-tide of money- 
getting turned. People had imagined that the gold- 
fields were as permanently productive as corn-lands 
or grazing farms. They were soon undeceived. 
The richest gold-finds were soon exhausted. The 
outrageous price of goods reached its maximum. 
The markets were overstocked. The glut was fol- 
lowed by revulsion. Commodities of various kinds 
which had before commanded fabulous sums became 
utterly unsalable. Engagements made in sanguine 
good faith couldnot be met. Blocks of half-finished 
stores and houses stood as mocking monuments of 
over-eager speculation. Great snow-balls of quickly- 
gotten wealth had melted in a summer. Hundreds 
elated by swift success had adapted their establish- 
ments and modes of living to an exceptional and 
ephemeral state of things, as if it were normal and 
perpetual. Many reproduced the prophetic picture : 
« Greedy dogs that can never have enough— they all 
look to their own way, every one for his gain from 
his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wme, 
and to-morrow shall be as this day, and much more 
abundant." Not so Walter Powell. The little cot- 
* The Government voted Mr. Hargreave $2,500, as reimburse- 
ment of his traveUing expenses. 



liOVE TO GOD IN CHRISTIAN CHARITY. 135 

tage at South Yarra, with its verandah festooned 
with honeysuckle and jasmine, was unchanged, ex- 
cepting that a few pictures beautified the walls, and 
rather better furniture filled the rooms. The habits 
of the household were not appreciably altered. A 
friend who had known him in his youth, in giving 
an account of his impressions of Melbourne, said, 
" Pleased and astonished as I was with the growth 
and prosperity of the new city, nothing gratified me 
so much as to see Walter Powell, with his increased 
means, still the same." The truth is, the loss of his 
four children had, in its effect upon his character, 
counterbalanced all his pecuniary gains. This, with 
Divine grace, had subdued and chastened him, and 
corrected any disposition to extravagance. "O 
Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself, 
it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O 
Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in Thine 
anger, lest Thou bring me to nothing." Often, the 
only effective directioii is c6>/*rection. 

But, with all his care and judgment, Mr. Powell 
suffered very severely, mainly through his multifa- 
rious efforts to help others. Those efforts involved 
him in heavy solicitudes. He thus became obliged 
to accept the trusteeship and undertake the princi- 
pal management of many estates. But he received 
the reward of his prudence and moderation, and his 
resolution always to keep his business well in hand, 
in the being enabled to stand firm amidst the gen- 
eral crash. Whilst devoting his leisure, his energy, 
and his practical ability to the interests of religion 
and philanthropy, he yet showed much meekness of 



136 



LIFE OF WALTER TOWELL. 



LOVE TO GOD IN CHEISTIAN CHAKITY. 



137 



<H» 



wisdom in tlio steady preference of the less promi- 
nent and more lowly walks of usefulness. lie per- 
sistently held out against repeated requisitions to 
enter Parliament ; nor would he so much as allow 
his name to be placed upon the list of magistrates. 
One reason for this retiring spirit was his sensi- 
tiveness as to the want of a thorough systematic ed- 
ucation in early life; a want which he, however, 
with surprising success, labored to supply. Mean- 
while, he kept within the s])here for which he felt 
himself most fitted. He earnestly devoted himself 
to the formation of a fund for the support of aged 
ministers and ministers' widows, and to the erection 
of the large Wesley Church in Melbourne, said to 
be " imdeniably the finest church in Australasia," and 
pronounced by Dr. Jobson to be " the noblest eccle- 
siastical edifice in Methodism, surpassing any in 
England or America." He was also an active mem- 
ber of the Committees of the Bible Society and the 
Benevolent Asylnm, and was especially interested 
in the erection of a workshop, that the inmates might 
be employed in tailoring, shoemaking, hat-making, 
sewing, etc. He undertook a week-night Bible- 
class for the elder Sunday-scholars. He also labored 
vio-orously in the establishment of an Industrial 
Home, and was, in short, " ready for every good 
word and work." 

All this was done under a solemn sense of respon- 
sibility, and from no pitiful ambition, as appears 
from such records in his journal as the following: 
" I must not be inert, or indefinite in action. By 
the Providence of God I am placed in a most re- 



sponsible position. / must world work for the 
Church, and — should the way be made plain — for 
the State also. JSTo more shrinking ; no more self- 
indulgence ; but earnest, sincere, decided effort for 
the glory of God and the good of man. The ambi- 
tion is noble to do good and be abundantly useful. 
May God, the Source of all strength, give me grace 
and wisdom, and plainly indicate my path, and par- 
don my offences? " He endeavored, moreover, to 
animate others by his exhortations, as well as to pro- 
voke them by his example, to a course of Christian 
toil and sacrifice, and to earnest spiritual and men- 
tal cultivation. He kept an exact record of the 
daily disposal of his time, and noticed his progress 
in self-training. Neither his laboi-s nor his givings 
were confined to Methodism. He accepted the 
presidency of the Melbourne Sunday School Union. 
As organist and choir-master he gave attention to 
practising the choir, and was extensively employed 
in drawing up reports on the state, the prospects, 
and the wisest management of the various Wesleyan 
institutions in Victoria. He took a statesmanly 
view of the duties and destinies of Methodism in 
the Australasian colonies. 

In short, the story of Mr. Powell's Life, from this 
time onward, could it be exactly detailed, would 
form a continuous clironicle of schemes, sacrifices, 
and efforts for the public good and the extension of 
the kingdom of God, and of the " work of faith and 
labor of love." The simple statement of his bene- 
factions would form a rich lesson on intelligent and 
conscientious charity. The discretion, discrimina- 



•flf^ 



138 



UFB OF WALTER POWELL. 



tion, and judiciousness, by which his munificence 
was regulated, incalculably enhanced their perma- 
nent utility. Yet his givings were not all made m 
large lumps, or on great occasions. Except when it 
was necessary to provoke others to good works his 
left hand never knew what his right hand did. Most 
of his donations were entered in no Report, but that 
which is kept on high. 



.'^ 



CHAPTER XL 

HIS SECOND VOYAGE TO ENGLAND. 

In 1856 Mrs. Powell's health gave way so seriously 
that her medical advisers urged a voyage to Eng- 
land as the most promising remedial measure. This 
was regarded by Mr. Powell as a providential indica- 
tion. He was also very anxious to see once more a 
sister in England who was slowly sinking under an 
incurable disease. Business had now become more 
settled, and he clearly saw that a second visit to his 
native land was necessary to the perfecting his re- 
lations with English firms and his general business 
arrangements. Above all he wished to study in the 
great centres of ti-ade the principles of legitimate 
success. He was, however, wide awake to the danger 
of leaving a large business for a year and a half 
without its principal. He had recently written to 

Mr. Butters: " has retunied from England. 

Such changes a few months have wrought that he 
seems to have lost the run of things. All the buoys 
have been taken up during his absence. He help- 
lessly leaves all to , being obliged to keep his 

pilot on board. A warning this to any ' Successful 
Merchant ' who contemplates a change ! " But he 
had such well-founded confidence in the two young 
men whom he had selected, trained, tested, and 



140 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



taught to feel a personal interest in tlie business, 
that he felt quite justified in leaving them in charge, 

even for so long a time. ^ 

The following notices of this second trip to Eng- 
land, written for the amusement of friends, can 
scarcely fail to interest our readers. They still 
further illustrate his powers of observation, and his 
instinctive and indefatigable self -improvement. lie 
also drew up a still more lively account for his little 
daughter, who accompanied her parents, and invited 
a large party of juveniles almost immediately on her 
return to Melbourne, to hear her read the history of 
her travels and " surprising adventures." 

" MY SECOND VOYAGE TO ENGLAND. 

« The romance associated with a voyage round the 
world in the days of Captain Cook is quite dispelled. 
Whether accomplished in steam-ship or sailing- 
vessel, nothing but disaster can invest it with the 
charms of adventure. With a lively remembrance 
of the dulness of the voyage in a sailing-vessel, I 
resolved that my next trip should be by steam, and 
' by the Overland Route.' We left Melbourne in 
the ' Oneida,' a pioneer ship of a new company, the 
European and Australasian. She was a beautifully- 
appointed vessel, but, alas ! soon proved herself un- 
fit for her voyage. Our first run was to Nepean 
Bay, situated in the centre of Kangaroo Island. 
Here we were met by the ' Adelaide' steamer, from 
whose deck we received mails, and several additional 
passengers. With scarce an hour's delay, onward wo 



HIS SECOND VOYAGE TO ENGLAND. 



141 



rushed to Albany, King George's Sound, a fine har- 
bor in Western Australia. The vessel was detained 
here twelve hours for the purpose of coaling, an 
operation duly appreciated only by those who have 
had the privilege of witnessing it. No passenger 
is hardy enough to remain on board while coaling 
is proceeded with. Two huge barges are moored 
to the steamer, one on either side. Scores of be- 
grimed figures commence shooting coals out of 
heavy bags into the vessel's hold ; an impenetrable 
cloud of fine black dust arises, covering the deck, 
choking up the saloon, and filling the sleeping 
cabins like a London fog. We had used foresight 
enough to stow away every article damageable by 
coal-powder, and imagined that we had made our 
cabins coal-powder proof, by lianging up sheets and 
towels against the Venetian blinds; but as well 
might Pharaoh have tried to keep the vindictive 
vermin from his bedchamber. 

" Coaling complete, we point the vessel's head to- 
wards Ceylon. Tliis run should be accomplished in 
fourteen or fifteen days; but within forty-eight 
hours our machinery gave way, and our fine ship 
was utterly disabled. Many consultations are held 
as to what must be done ; some eager to reach home 
propose to push on to Batavia, but as the ship proved 
almost helpless under sail, it was finally resolved to 
turn her head, and make for King George's Sound 
once more, and there await the next mail-steamer. 
This was more easily attempted than accomplished, 
with a vast unwieldly vessel, clogged by useless ma- 
chinery and baffled by contrary winds. Day fol- 



1 



142 



UFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS SECOND VOYAGE TO ENGLAND. 



143 



I 
I 



"t 

* : 
: • 



■ I 



lowed day, without bringing us any nearer to our 
desired harbor of refuge ; but at length the engin- 
eer, who showed great skill and resource succeeded 
in ;> patching up the engine that we could proceed 
at quarter-speed. We regained St. George's Sound 
in sixteen days, having retraced a di,-,tance previ- 
ously passed in two. Oar joy on reaching it was 
much tempered by the infonnation that the mail- 
steamer, the ' Simla,' a magnificent ship, had 
left the harbor the day previously witli a very 
moderate number of passengers. There wa3 notlx- 
ins for it but to wait here a month for the next 
mail. Albany is a small town, with not more than 
two or three hundred inhabitants ; so the passengers 
insisted that the ship should be detained, and util- 
ized as a floating hotel. Our detention, of course, 
was weary enough, but happily the weather was 
Ine, the country charming, and the inhabitants 
obliging. Almost every day the passengers went 
on L?e, the captain placing the ship's boats at 
\Lr disposal, and made agi^eable ^e -plo^^^^^^^ 
The gentlemen found amusement in rabbit shooting, 
fishing, etc. The natives, too, afforded no little di- 
version. We were soon on very friendly terms with 
them They readily danced tlie corrohoree, divea, 
and threw their spears and boomerangs for our de- 
lectation. We visited the native school, and ob- 
served a higher type of intelligence amongst the 
aborigines of Western Australia than amongst those 
of vTctoria. Tlie children could read, write, and 
sew well; but we heard tlie same story here, as in 
the other colonies, that after a time they abscond to 



their native wilds, not being able to endure the 
thraldom of civilization. One incident, especially, 
served to break the monotony of our detention. 
One of our passengers, a squatter from Queensland, 
had fallen in love with a young lady on board. 
They turned our misfortune to good account by get- 
ting married at Albany. There was some little 
difficulty in procuring for the bride a sufficient 
troicsseauy no provision having been made for the 
contingency of a wedding. The little town was 
ransacked for contributions to the lady's gear, and 
her bridal dress was at last the joint present of the 
passengers and townsfolk. One sad event, however, 
marred our merriment. The boatswain, firing a 
salute in honor of the event, shot off two of his fin- 
gers. A liberal subscription was immediately made 
for the poor^an, who liad a wife and family. 

"After we had lost nearly seven weeks, the 
' European ' mail-steamer arrived. She was a noble 
ship, but had already almost her full complement 
of passengers ; and pitiable was the disappointment 
and discomfort inflicted on them by the crowding in 
of some sixty new-comers. All was endured, how- 
ever, with exemplary good feeling. Our voyage 
was now resumed in good earnest. 

" On steamer, as on shore, there are ranks, orders, 
and degrees. The Englishman carries his reserve 
and taciturnity along with him to the ends of the 
earth and the uttermost parts of the sea. It may 
have been modified to some extent by the great 
freedom which prevails in colonial social life ; but 
enough is always left to constitute a formidable bar- 



144 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS SECOND VOYAGE TO ENGLAND. 



145 



I I 



\m¥ 



I 



rier to anything like a swiftly-formed acquaintance- 
ship, even in our small ship-world. Meal-times af- 
ford the greatest facilities for fraternization. The 
habit of feeding together is wonderfully equalizing 
and uniting. The necessity for social amusement 
perforce brings and binds for a time people together. 
Here, as elsewhere, self-interest is the great bond of 
iinion amongst average human beings. Even in our 
little community, numberless, though vain, were the 
efforts of the lower ranks to creep into the upper. 
It is quite natural to depreciate and affect to despise 
those who happen to be above us, but we soon re- 
verse our prejudices if once admitted into the 
charmed circle, and begin to wonder at the vulgar 
pretensions of those whose society we once enjoyed. 
Still, even in this ignoble tendency, the good pre- 
dominates ; the desire to improve ourtposition puts 
us on our good behavior, and thus improves our 
manners. Our movements and conversation are 
placed under a sensitive and rigid, though half-un- 
conscious, self-inspection ; and we gradually become 
fitted to mingle, not ungracefully, with the higher 
rank. Distinctions of rank would be less marked 
on ship-board but for the presence of the ladies. 
They are your true aristocrats, and will permit no 
encroachment on what they regard as their own do- 
main. . , . 

« The discipline to which one is subjected on ship- 
board is, like all other discipline, less pleasant than 
profitable. So closely packed together, brought 
into c^ose contact with people you never saw before 
cut off from those whom you have been accustomed 



to associate with, thrown together, and shut up with 
a society not one element of which is of your own 
selection ; debarred from your usual employments, 
you liave need of patience. If joa would pass your 
time agreeably, jou must rein your tongue and curb 
your temper. You must learn to be calm and cheer- 
ful in circumstances tending to disturb and depress. 
Those who will not learn these lessons expose them- 
selves to constant punishment, and turn for them- 
selves a steamer into a house of correction. If they 
quarrel, there is no getting away from their oppo- 
nents.^ There they are, and there are their ene- 
mies, in close and inevitable proximity. The proud 
and scornful must learn to deport themselves with 
humility and deference, or no quarter will be given 
to their airs and imperiousness. Nor, in discussion, 
will a vehement or dogmatic manner be tolerated' 
for an hour in the saloon of a first-class steamer, as 
you are sure to find some one capable of casting a 
chill upon your overheated self-importance. Then 
you will assuredly be tried by annoyances insepara- 
ble from your cramped position (having little space 
for bodily exercise), squeamishness, and the rapid 
change of climate. From a moderate temperature 
you may be suddenly plunged into the tropical 
summer. Prickly heat breaks out all over you, and 
worries you for a week. These and other disagree- 
ables, nameless and numberless, will find out your 
less amiable peculiarities. Whatever may have been 
a man's apparent character at the outset of a long 
voyage, his real disposition and principles will dis^ 
close themselves befoi-e he lands. ' Do you know 



146 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



SO and so ? ' said a pereon to an old Scotchman. ^ I 
canna say I ken the mon,' was liis reply ; ' I never 
lived with 'um.' On ship-board you do live with 
one another, and find it a shrewd test of character. 
All that was latent is there developed. You gain 
such a view of a man there, that your judgment is 
not likely to need any future correction. That pas- 
senger, so reserved and silent at the beginning of 
the voyage, is not at all unlikely to prove the most 
companionable and loquacious man on board. Yon 
dignified pei*sonage will probably turn out to have 
learnt little else but deportment (the weakest ani- 
mals have some means of self-defence). Those who 
profess *the broadest charity' and the 'broadest 
creed' soon convict themselves of narrowness in 
both. Some who have overwhelmed you with piti- 
less erudition, reveal in good time their unfathomable 
superficiality. We had an old gentleman on board, 
who for a while quite astounded us by his learning 
and originality. By and by we found that he was 
constantly priming himself on some particular sub- 
ject, and letting himself off at the company. Wlien 
his stock of books was exhausted, the fountain sud- 
denly became dry. No duller or more unconvers- 
able man could be found amongst us than this 
accomplished individual! He was worthy of the 
talented young lady, who, having charmed an even- 
ing party with the brilliancy of Iier conversation on 
a variety of topics which she had herself introduced, 
was struck dumb by the incidental starting of a 
much simpler subject by another person. It turned 
out that slie was reading througli the * Penny 



HIS SECOND VOYAGE TO ENGLAND. 



147 



Cyclopaedia,' and having only waded as far as the 
letter G, was quite out of lier depth on any theme 
which had the misfortune to bear an initial letter 
later in the alphabet. 

" One of our fellow-passengers was at first re- 
markable for his exuberant and perennial flow of 
spirits. The prodigal soon Avasted his substance. 
When disaster and delay came, he suddenly turned 
sour. Some — fortunately very few — endeavored to 
drown ennui in deep potations ; but this unnatural 
resource proved a cup of bitterness to them all. 
They immediately lost caste in our community, and 
found themselves drafted ofi: to a marine Coventry. 
And so, as we steam on, the mask falls off, or the 
veil is by degrees withdrawn, and the contour 
charms in many instances, but disgusts in others." 

In few men were the educational advantages of 
travel more apparent than in Mr. Powell. To his 
long and frequent voyages were, doubtless, traceable 
not only much of his general savoir faire^ but mucli 
also of his breadth of view, catholicity of sentiment, 
and the easy frankness of his bearing. Yet all this 
keen appreciation of external interests, and vivid 
insight into character, did not perceptibl}^ diminish 
the deep undercurrent of religious earnestness, or 
interfere with his spirituality and inwardness of 
mind. Happily his profound personal experience 
of religion, the inward miracles which had left their 
abiding memorials on his own consciousness and 
character, formed an impregnable basis of certainty 
in all promiscuous discussions on religious questions. 
Yet he had enough to depress and disturb him, 



H 



148 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



besides the vexatious prolongation of the voyage 
and his confinement in Albany for the terra of one 
calendar month. The relieving steamer brought 
very bad commercial news from Victoria, calculated 
to awake intense anxiety as to the effect of his ab- 
sence upon his own affairs. But his confidence in 
God rescued him from unavailinn: solicitudes. 

We shall now recur to the journal. 

"April 3d, 1857.— Sighted the light-house of 
Point de Galle, Ceylon. The harbor is small, and 
much exposed, and the swell greater than out at 
sea. The canoes (catamarans^ as they are called) 
of the natives are very singular, and ingeniously 
adapted to the peculiarities of the harbor, being 
narrow and deep, and from twenty to thirty feet in 
length, and having an outrigger in the shape of a 
curved pole at each end, with a crescent-shaped log 
fastened at their points, which renders them pecul- 
iarly safe, though so fragile in appearance, and cap- 
able of withstanding the heaviest sea. The coast 
scenery is very beautiful ; the surf bursts in most 
majestically. No sooner had we anchored than we 
were beset with native boats, soliciting the passen- 
gei-s to land, and asking us to let them have our 
clothes to wash. This they accomplish with great 
expedition. My wife gave out four dozen in the 
morning, and had them back by four p.m. exquis- 
itely clean. But the natives are the greatest cheats 
I have yet met with, asking a sovereign for an 
article for which they would gladly take sixpence. 
The town is prettily situated, and the trees planted 
in the streets give it a very picturesque and Oriental 



HIS BECOM) VOYApE TO ENGLAND. 



149 



appearance. The streets are beautifully gravelled 
and perfectly level, and the country roads are as 
straight and as smooth as a table. The houses are 
built of small stones, stuck together with mortar, 
and are roofed with burnt tiles. We proceeded to 
the Light-house Hotel, not without difficulty ; for all 
the innkeepers have their noisy agents ; and at the 
corner of every street, as in an Engh'sh port, your 
hands are crammed with cards and placards from 
the various shops. At the hotel they required an 
hour and a half to prepare our breakfast. We took 
a one-horse vehicle, bearing some resemblance to a 
cab, and called on the Wesle^-an missionary, Mr. 
Bipon. We were sorely tempted to purchase some 
of the beautiful ornamental articles manufactured 
here : work-boxes, etc., of tortoise and other shells 
and various woods, ebony elephants, etc. We drove 
out to Wachwalla, about five miles, and had a fine 
view of the country. The refreshing groves of 
cocoa-nut trees finely contrasted with the dark leaf- 



age of the mango. 



The indijrenous flowers are 



strikingly beautiful, and grow wild in every direc- 
tion. The roads are narrow, but so pleasantly 
shaded, that although in the latitude of five degrees 
we did not find the heat oppressive. We also saw 
the cinnamon plant, the nutmeg, and the lemon- 
grass. After dining at the hotel, we had to run the 
gauntlet back to the jetty, and by dint of resolution 
managed, in spite of distracting vociferation, threat- 
ening, and abuse, to get all our luggage into one 
boat, and treated to a native song, with wild chorus, 



150 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



ins SECOND VOYAGE TO ENGLAND. 



151 



by the boatmen, reached the ship in safety at two 
o'clock in the niorninc:. 

"April 13th. — Aden. The dreariest and most 
desolate place imaginable. Went on shore in one 
of the Arab boats ; not a tree or blade of grass to 
be discovered. Dark brown masses of lava, gro- 
tesquely sharp, and craggy, from a hundred to a 
thousand feet in height, and fortified in every avail- 
able part. It is stated that upwards of a million 
sterling has been expended on the fortifications. 
You approach tlie town by a pass deeply cut 
through the volcanic rock, guarded by sentinels and 
bristling with cannon. The population consists of 
Armenians, Jews, Arabs, negroes, and Abyssinians. 
We managed to get a one-liorse conveyance, capa- 
ble of holding four passengers. The driver agreed 
to take us to the town and back for twelve shillinjrs. 
Most of the passengers procured donkeys, some 
hoi-ses, and we made for the town pell-mell. Every 
donkey and horse was accompanied by its owner, 
holding on by the tail, or running alongside, bela- 
boring the animal with a stick. Ever and anon the 
owner would pull up, and insist upon furtlier pay- 
ment, before he would allow tlie unfortunate rider 
to proceed. By dint of hard words and harder 
blows, our fellow-passengers cleared this difficulty. 

" The negroes and Arabs appear capable of any 
amount of endurance ; they run about without any 
covering to their heads, and with scarcely any to 
their bodies, apparently unaffected by the burning 
rays of the almost vertical sun. We met long strings 
of camels, troop of donkeys laden with water-skins, 



and a flock of black and white long-haired sheep. 
Three or four hundred wretched, dirty, flat-roofed 
huts, a few shops, and an inn, compose tlie town, 
which stands within the crater of an extinct volcano. 
The shops are kept by Parsees with a strong Jewish 
physiognomy. The whole scene seemed curse- 
stricken ; and we were glad enough to get away from 

it." • 

On reaching England, Mr. Powell was distressed 
to find that ^he " Oneida's " break-down had de- 
prived him of the privilege of spending with his sis- 
ter the last fortnight of her life. She had died five 
weeks before his arrival. Mr. and Mrs. Powell 
spent ten months in England, broken by a seven- 
weeks' trip to the United States. But Mr. Powell 
allowed himself very brief holiday. Almost the 
whole time was devoted to strenuous business. He 
made a complete tour of the manufacturing districts 
of England and Scotland, making himself especially 
familiar with the manufacture of all the gO(^xis in 
which he traded, visiting all the iron-works of any 
note, ascertaining which were the best firms, taking 
notes and writing in his journal descriptions of the 
most interesting and ingenious processes, and gath- 
ering useful information from every available source. 
Almost the only recreation he allowed himself was 
a visit to the Manchester Exhibition of Fine Arts. 



CHAPTER XII. 

VISIT TO AMERICA. — RETURN TO MELBOURNE. — HIS 
STUDIES. REMOVAL TO ENGLAND. 

Mr. and Mrs. Powell embarked for America 
Sept. 2G, 1857. The voyage was very pleasant, their 
companion voyagers being many of them American 
clergymen and Christian laymen who were return- 
ing from the Conference of the Evangelical Alliance 
at Berlin. They passed through the skirts of the 
cyclone in which the " Central America " steamship 
foundered.* 

They landed at Boston, and were " charmed with 
the elegance of its public and private buildings, and 
the loveliness of the surroimding scenery." After 
visiting the neighboring places of historic interest, 
they proceeded to New York, and found that all 
they " had heard and read of the comI)ined splendor 
and comfort of American hotels and steamboats 
rather fell short of than exaggerated the reality." 

* Mr. Powell records a remarkable incident in connection with 
this molancholy wreck. The captain of a vessel, hailing from 
Havana, observed a smaU bird fluttering peculiarly and anxi- 
ously about his deck, flying back again repeatedly in the same 
direction, and returning. He was so impressed with this as to 
change his course in the direction taken by the bird, and at 
length came in sight of a raft, to which several men were cling- 
ing in the last stage of exhaustion. 



VISIT TO AMERICA. — REMOVAL TO ENGLAND. 153 



While in New York, Mr. Powell devoted his morn- 
ings to business, having crossed the Atlantic mainly 
with the view of extending his commercial connec- 
tions in America. The latter part of the day was 
given up to inspection of the city. Whilst there he 
received an impressive lesson on the evils of over- 
trading. The following extracts from letters record 
his American experiences : 

"Xew York, October 23d and 24th, 1857.— On 
arrivinor here, I found invself in the midst of the 
most terrible financial panic which this great com- 
mercial city has ever experienced. In one day 
twenty of the fifty-two New York banks suspended 
payment, and the next day all the banks throughout 
the State followed their example. Firms of the most 
undoubted standing, and having three times as much 
in stock and property as they owed, had succumbed 
to the pressure, and been compelled either to become 
bankrupt, or, at least, to suspend payment. All this 
has come upon them in six weeks, and doubtless is 
owing to their having pushed their railways along 
too quickly, and to over-trading and general extrava- 
gance. I cannot help thinking, however, that they 
have frightened themselves more than was necessary, 
as they had very fine crops this season, and will have 
an enormous amount of breadstufl:'3 to export be- 
sides their cotton. This must have a bad effect in 
England, if it do not cause a crisis. It will certainly 
occasion many failures and a stringent money mar- 
ket, for America trades with England to the extent 
of two hundred millions of dollars per annum. I 
scarcely think that Australia will soon be revisited 
7* 



154 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



by commercial crisis, unless the Government plnnge 
into plans for making many railroads at once. This 
panic, passing under my immediate observation, 
teaches me that no man in business is safe who has 
many bills payable and a large discourit accomit. 
As it is not at all unlikely that England may be 
severely tried with her Indian war and her Ameri- 
can debtors, that the banks will tighten their strings 
and interest rule high, take care that the rebound 
does not hit you ; for not America only, but France 
and Germany also, are at present in severe commer- 
cial distress. I need not say anything on the subject 
of remittances, as you will send all you can consist- 
ently with your own comfort and safety. 

" As the panic increased, people sold for £14 or 
£16 discount. I declined to sell bills at such enor- 
mous loss, and therefore shall not buy until ex- 
change is better. If, on my return to England, I 
find any order for American goods, I shall have it 
put in hand, if possible ; for, although exchange to 
me may be charged at £5 or £6 loss, the scarcity of 
American goods in your market will bring this up. 
There are so many American ports from which they 
ship to Australia, tliat I cannot learn how many ves- 
sels are laid on. They must be very few, however ; 
for tlie panic is so great that confidence is gone, and 
most people have to go to market with dollars down. 
Since they will not let me work in America, I in- 
tend to play ; and while acquiring all the informa- 
tion I can, I mean also to see all I can. I came 
down to New York (from Boston) in one of their 
splendid river boats, which will accommodate a 



J 



,. 



VISIT TO AMERICA. REMOVAL TO ENGLAND. 155 

thousand people. Until you see them, you can have 
no conception what a vessel may be brought to. 
They have three decks, and saloons from one end to 
the other. They measure from three hundred to 
three hundred and fifty feet. 

" The streets here, like ours, are mostly at right 
angles. The celebrated Broadway is not so broad 
as Melbourne streets, but is of great length. The 
buildings go up four or five stories, on walls only 
fourteen inches thick. They are, however, very 
handsome, many of the fronts being all of white 
marble. We stayed at an hotel where fourteen 
hundred people can be accommodated. We went 
by boat up the magnificent river Hudson, one hun- 
dred and fifty miles, then by rail to Niagara. We 
stood upon the Table Rock dressed like Esquimaux, 
and went under the great Iloree-Shoe Fall, not 
nearly such a difiicult or heroic undertaking as some 
represent it. We crossed to the opposite side in a 
little boat, which every moment seemed as if it must 
be overturned, yet was perfectly safe. We thought 
the rapids, as seen from Prospect Tower, quite as 
wonderful as the great Fall itself. All the arrange- 
ments for travelling are more perfect, methodical, 
and safe in America than in any other country. I paid 
six dollars and a quarter each for travelling the 
three hundred and fifty miles by rail, and only a 
dollar and a half each for going up the Hudson by 
steamer. But they are beginning to find out that 
they run a much lower rate than will pay. We saw 
Lakes Erie and Ontario. I give you but a skeleton 
report, but hope to clothe the skeleton on my re- 



156 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



tura. I shall not be so prosy as to give yon full 
descriptions of the places we have seen, thinking 
these things better said than sung. 

" We intended to proceed to Montreal, but, as the 
lake steamer wonld not face a strong wind that was 
blowing, after three days' waiting, we got tired, and 
returned to New York. We went to Buffalo and 
to Rochester to see the Genesee Falls. They are 
very grand, but, passing through the town, have not 
the charm of the clear, pnre waters of Niagara. 
We spent Sunday at Rochester, attended the Meth- 
odist chapel, and were shocked by the irregular 
behavior of the congregation, who were talking 
loudly nntil the service commenced. 

" We found that, Bplendid as were the interior 
arrangements of the l)oat on Lake Ontario, she was 
in very bad condition ; so declined to commit our 
persons to her. We afterwards heard that she was 
lost that very day, and twenty persons drowned. 

" I hope to discuss with you the Yankee mode of 
living, their churches, and preachers ; but you must 
neither expect a sound judgment nor a correct de- 
scription, as 1 am only a flying traveller. With 
the country I am delighted, and do not wonder at 
the progress of the people ; but the prodigal gifts of 
Nature make the people prodigal in their expendi- 
ture. What a wonderfully happy nation they might 
be, if they did not live so fast ! What misery they 
are now passing through ! and the sufferings of the 
unemployed during the coming winter, no one can 
contemplate without deep commiseration. The 
present agony must surely teach them a valuable 



" 



VISIT TO AMERICA. — REMOVAL TO ENGLAND. 157 

lesson ; and I have little doubt that their heavy 
losses will deter English capitalists from agahi 
trusting to anything so rotten as Yankee rail- 
roads." 

Mr. Powell was characteristically interested m, 
and impressed by, the immense American Methodist 
" Book Concerns ; " and spent a considerable part 
of his time in visiting them, lie had purposed 
spending a much longer period in America, but the 
panic compelled him to change his plans. The 
house on which he had letters of credit failed ; the 
apprehension of a commercial crisis in England, and 
the setting-in of the wet weather, induced his speedy 
return. He was in Wall Street on the day of the 
great rush upon the banks, and " saw money handed 
out of the doors and windows to the alarmed and 
excited crowds. The great stores were selling off, 
and elegantly-dressed ladies were seen in Broadway, 
hauling great packages of goods, purchased at im- 
mensely reduced prices." 

Mr. and Mrs. Powell afterwards visited Phila- 
delphia, and left America on the 28th, reaching 
Liverpool on the 9th of November. Mr. Powell 
spent the winter busily in London ; where, in Feb- 
ruary, 1858, a son was born to him. Unfavorable 
news of the state of trade in Victoria reached Eng- 
land by the February mail ; but owing to the judi- 
cious mode in which his business was conducted, 
" amid extensive failures," he " lost no more than 
£30 altogether ; " and taking everything into con- 
sideration, the profit was not only unexpected but 
unexampled. 



158 



LIFE OF WALTFJl POWELL. 



In April, 1858, Mr. and Mrs. Powell commenced 
their return journey ; spending two or three weeks 
in Paris, and a few days at Lyons, wliere their only 
British-born babe died of cholera ; and a fortnight 
in Egypt, where they nearly lost their sole survi- 
ving child. From Galle to Melbourne tlie voyage 
was protracted and uncomfortable. They were sev- 
eral weeks without fresh meat, and the machinery 
was incessantly breaking down ; " the Peninsular 
and Oriental Company not having then the monop- 
oly of the route." He resolved, should he ever visit 
England again, not to return by the Overland 
Route. " It is a great risk to bring children that 
way." 

On reaching Melbourne, a fortnight' overdue, Mr. 
Powell found his business "quite snug," and at 
once gave its managers very substantial proof of his 
gi-atef ul appreciation of their services. 

He was " received with overflowing cordiality," 
and two days after his arrival received a requisition 
to stand for the Upper House ; but thought he could 
make a better investment of his time, until fitted by 
a regular course of study for such responsible duties. 
He was astonislied at the progress which Melbourne 
had made during his absence ; not onlj' had it in- 
creased in size, but also in beauty and convenience ; 
•whilst " in the suburbs, or small municipalities, the 
opening of new roads had quite changed the charac- 
ter of the scenery." Four new railways had been 
commenced. 

Mr. Powell took a house, overlooking the bay, 
three miles from town, but only eight minutes by 



VISIT TO AMERICA. — BEMOVAL TO ENGLAND. 



159 









rail. He at once recommenced his activities in the 
Church, and accepted " the post of organist in the 
Wesleyan Church at St. Kilda, and the supermten- 
dency of the Sunday-school." He at once prepared 
a definite plan for continuous self-education. 

He writes in his diary, September 15, 1858 : 
" I have now, what I never before possessed,— a 
large library, and a room for reading and study. 
Next month I take into partnership the two young 
men who managed my business so faithfully dunng 
my absence. I only work at the business now from 
ten to one o'clock, but the rest of my time is com- 
pletely occupied by Church matters, attending com- 
mittees, and by reading, etc. ; in fact, I have no 
disposition to waste time." In less than a month, 
he reduced his attendance on business to two houi-s 
daily. Mr. Symons testifies that, at this period, 
"Mr. Powell gave up the greater portion of his 
time to the general weal, for which he labored in- 
cessantly and most usefully." In order that he 
might be at liberty for the service of the Church, 
he kept himself as free as possible not only from 
political, but also from commercial engagements ex- 
traneous to his own business, declining even to be a 
director of the National Bank. He, however, felt 
bound to perform the duties of citizenship, by serv- 
ing as a city councillor. He also labored hard in 
the humblest departments of Christian charity. His 
diary contains entries like the following : 

" February 27th, 1859.— Hearing of Mr. -'s 

continued illness, I went over and stayed with him 
through the night." 



160 



LIFE OP WALTER POWELL. 



The following was his plan of .study at this 
period : 

" Monday.-Matliematics, Englisli history, music." 
Tuesday. Morning.-Graminar. Afternoon.- 
Music and ' M'CullocIi's Dictionary.' " 

" Wednesday.-Mathematics, English history, 
music." -^ ' 

l^'Thursday.-Grammar, English liistory, music." 

^ lu-iday.-Matliematics, English history, music." 

featurday.-Set apart for preparing the ' Address 

to the bunday-school children.' " 

Thus he labored with conscientious steadiness to 

ht himself for the position in which Providence had 

placed him, and 

** Followed thus the ever-runmnff year 
With profitable labor." 

He, notwithstanding, found that the exigent claims 
,of the Church and the secular community so con- 
sumed his time and strengtli as to baffle to a great 
extent his best-laid plans of personal cultivation 
iiesides this, the insidious disease, which a few 
years afterwards brought him to the grave in the 
higli summer-tide of life, was beginning to check 
his energies ; and, since the trutli must be told his 
generosity had surrounded him with so many claim- 
ants on his pecuniary resources, wiio practically 
assumed that his beneficence gave them a vested * 
interest in his property— a prescriptive right to fall 
back on him, whenever and from whatever cause, or 
for whatever pui-pose, they thought a little ready 
money might be of service to tliem, that like some 



VISIT TO 



AMERICA. — REMOVAL TO ENGLAND. 161 



Stately tropical forest-tree, he was in danger of 
being dragged down by parasitical vegetation. He 
therefore ""resolved, early in 1860, to spend three 
years in England, to give his constitution a chance 
of recovery,' and his mind the enrichment and en- 
lar^rement which he believed that the responsibilities 
of his position required. 

On the day of his embarkation, a number of gen- 
tlemen of Melbourne and its vicinity entertained 
him at a valedictory dejeuner, and presented him 
with an address, expressive of their high sense of 
his worth. The Hon. A. Eraser presided. The fol- 
lowing paragraph appeared in the Melbourne 
" Wesley an Clironicle," March, 1860 : 

"Mr. Powell's departure from the colony is justly 
felt to be for many reasons a Connectional loss. 
He has been associated Avith all our public move- 
ments, and by his princely liberality and sagacious 
counsels greatly contributed to their success. We 
are glad to learn, however, that Mr. Powell pur- 
poses to return after the iapse of two or three 






yearL. 

He again varied his route, coming by way of the 
Mauritius, where he had a two days' drive into the 
interior of the island, seeing all that is most remark- 
able. He was much struck by the beauty of the 
scenery and the vegetation, the goodness of the 
roads, the plenteousness of the markets, and the 
brilliant colors of the iish—" vivid blue, scarlet, 

green," etc. 

On arriving in London Mr. Powell at once vig- 
orously recommenced his course of study. His 



162 



"FE OF WALTER POWELL. 



N 



d,a,y records Ins J.umble, painstaking labo,^ Ho 
Bet apart s.x hours daily to this duty, and corre- 
sponded with Dr. Beard on the suggestions gi^fn 

Dr Guthrie's Ragged School in Edinburgh, and 
took the opportunity of seeing the Scotch and En<! 
iisii lakes. ^ 

He closed the year I860 and began 1861 in what 
can scarcely be called a moo<l of lannble and all 
consecratuig gratitude, since it was but the intensi- 
fying by reflection of his habitual state of heart 
as entry for Christmas day runs thus: "I w^' 
never more affected on any former Christmas than 
1 am on this by the innumerable benefits bestowed 
upon me by my great Redeemer. My heart glows 
w>th gratitude May the flame be never quenclfed " 
That for the last day of the year was as follows : 

cie/oi oid ^^''"" V'""' ^'^^^'-^^'^^-g the mer- 
cies of God during the past year, and deploring my 

defaciencies as a Christian." ^ ^ 

On the first of January, 1861, he entered into 
partnership with Mr. Henry Reed, an Australian 
merchant, by whose earnest and pointed discourees 
as a lay-preacher in Tasmania he had been so much 
benefited more than twenty yeare before, when he 
was a young clerk in Tasmania. The ofiices were 
at 6, Broad Street Buildings, since taken down to 
make way for the Broad 'Street Terminus. Al- 
though he undertook the entire management of the 
business, Mr. Reed having just lost his partner, Mr 
Hawley, and being himself advanced in life Mr' 
I'owell had no doubt that he "should be able to 



VISIT TO AMERICA. — REMOVAL TO ENGLAND. 163 

conduct it with facility," as it was based upon tlie 
self-same principles which he had years before 
adopted, and to which he was resolved to adhere, 
principles which, by regularity and moderation, 
saved a world of trouble and anxiety, and enabled 
him to carry on immense transactions with ease, 
comfort, and security. He wrote to the Rev. Daniel 
J. Draper, detailing the reasons which induced him 
to protract his stay in England, for so long a period 
as seven years, the term to which his partnership 
extended, and expressing an earnest hope that he 
might be yet spared to spend several years in Vic- 
toria, ffivinoj a sketch of the state of Methodism in 
London, and inquiring how he might best help the 
Church in Australia. 

Thus the ambition of his boyhood was realized, 
and' that by the most direct and honorable means, 
in fact, by God's blessing on the observance of God's 
own laws. He was now a London merchant, his 
office being within a few minutes' walk of that 
which his father had left more than forty years be- 
fore. 

In the summer of that year he had an enfeebling 
attack of scarlatina ; recovering from which, he felt 
it necessary to take a month's tour in France, Swit- 
zerland, and Germany, attending the meeting of the 
Evangelical Alliance at Geneva, and returning by 
the Rhine " in the same boat with the King of 
Prussia." lie embarked for England at Rotterdam, 
and reached home, feeling " iit for another twelve- 
month's wear and tear." 

His record for January the 1st, 1862, is as fol- 



164 



LIFE OF WALTEK POWELL. 



I 



r 



I 



n 



lows : " Began the new year in Bayswater Chapel 
with joy. Reviewing the past year, I felt that I 
had every reason to tliank God, and take courage. 
I dedicate myself to Thy service, O God ! hody, 
soul, and spirit. May the time i)ast suffice wherein 
I have transgressed Thy law I May loving gratitude 
urge me onward to every good work ! May I re- 
deem the time ; cast oif ^ the works of darkness,' 
and put on the whole armor of light ! " In accord- 
ance with this renewed dedication to the service of 
God, he consented to undertake the superintend- 
ency of the AVesleyan Sunday-school, Denbigh Eoad, 
Bayswater. 

He took full advantage of thw great Exhibition of 
1862, as an extraordinai*y opportunity of acquirino" 
information in the most interestiug and effective 
manner. For this he had special facilities, as he 
resided at Kensington, within easy reach of the 
great palace of Industry and Art. On the 25th of 
October, he writes to a friend in Melbourne : " I 
have been to take a last fgnd look, a melancholy 
farewell of the most beautiful and varied collection 
the world has ever seen. I nnist not indulire in 
descriptions, though I could write a volume of 
*Pei*soual Experiences in the Exhibition,' but inex- 
orable business commands me to proceed to ordinary 
topics." 

The record for January the 1st, 1863, is as fol- 
lows : "Spent the last minutes of 1862 and the 
first of 1863 in comnnuiion with the God in w^hose 
hand my breath is and whose are all my ways." 

On the 22d of December, 1863, he notified to his 



VISIT TO AMERICA. — REMOVAL TO ENGLAND. 165 



-f 



1 



young partners in Melbourne, an important change 
in his business relations in England : " Mr. Heed 
has proposed to retire from business, and make it 
over entirely to me. After due reflection and con- 
sultation with my friend Mr. William M' Arthur,* I 
have agreed, and the dissolution of partnership will 
take place at the end of this month." 

The entry in his diary on January 1st, 1864, is, 
" May the God of all grace be honored by the new 
firm in all our transactions. His will done, and His 
blessing secured ! " 

* Now M.P. for Lambeth. 



CHAPTER xiir. 

HIS SINGLENESS OF PtTEPO'SP Axrr. „„ 

ruKl-oSB AND CONSCIENTIOrS EE- 

GAKD TO TOE mVINE COMMANDS. 

lifo^n'"'I-'r-''''^"'*'*^ *"* ^^''^ '■» Mr. Powell's 
ascl^M""^ '*-"'"^ ^ ''<'"^*""«"* to Pa"B0, and 

ample data for a correct and complete estimate 

and, at the same time, directing other large busi 
nesses m Anstralia. All his l^tte. were\-r tJen 
>n duplicate, and not on scattered sheets but i^ 
prepared "Writing Copying Books." Hi; entie 
business correspondence for the last ten ye^of 
h.s l,fe ,s now in my possession. I have read l 

studied It with much moral and religious profit 
one t''^^"-"'!"' ''^''^^^ -d last point .Wiich Lkes 

s !^ie1 1? • !''^' "' ^^''"'^y ^'^ted, carefully 
studied the principles of legitimate success in trade 
He had also habituated himself to a heroic spiritua 
.•aming, by means of which he kept in check the 
trading spirit, and maintained an internal isolation 
-the life and peace of spiritual-mindedness in the 
midst of brisk and arduous commerce. 

Upon liis conversion, he set before himself a 



HIS SINGLENESS OF PUKTOSE. 



167 



clear and definite life-purpose. That purpose was 
not bounded by the present world — it was not even 
based upon the present world. He began his new 
life in this world with the strong conviction and 
vivid realization of the life to come. Under the 
impression of a near view of eternity, calmly calcu- 
lating the probabilities of the shortness of his own 
earthly existence, he deliberately laid his plans for 
a very long life — a life which death should not 
terminate, or even interrupt. He profoundly be- 
lieved " in the life everlasting." Christ was " made 
to" him " wisdom," first, in those matters in which 
the keenest and shrewdest are oftenest in error. 
He saw that the life which now is, derives all its 
value and significance from that which is to come. 
Hence the sensitive and solicitons introspection, 
that self-scrutiny and self-severitj^, which marked 
the delicate and overworked young clerk. Doubt- 
less, that severity was sometimes mistaken, and even 
morbid, but under its keen husbandry a true and 
noble character was shooting up. Sincerity was the 
root, consistency the stem, and benevolence the 
flower. Hence Mr. PowelFs business life was not a 
something apart, or even distinct, from his spiritual 
life. Business was part of his religion, whilst 
relisrion w^as the whole of his business. His char- 
acter was all of a piece — " woven from the top 
throughout." His exceptional success in business 
was not the irreat lesson of his life. He would have 
been as good and as exemplary a man if he had 
not succeeded, and yet liis success was the natural 
sequence of Jiis principles, qualities, and habits. 



168 



LIFE OF WALTER PO^VELL. 



Prosperity in Iiis cage was a providential award to a 
tru8tvvx)rtlij servant, accordin^i. to the principle, "To 
inm that hath sliall be giyeu, and he shdl have 
abundance." Affluence was added unto him, as he 
was intently seeking "the kingdom of God and His 
righteousness." Though evidently born for busi- 
ness and feeling in it the keen enjoyment and 
exhilaration of conscious power exercising itself in 
Its native element-being in this sense fervent in 
sjpmt, whilst not slothful in husiness-he yet never 
allowed business to become with him a ruling 
passion. It was never-what with him givina 
always was-a dominant propensity, requiring to be 
kept m check. It was throughout a secondary and 
Bubordmate consideration. The charm of business 
to him was not the excitement of acquisition or the 
pnde of possession, nor does he seem ever to have 
developed that genius for commerce which tri- 
i^mphs in driving a hard bargain, and exults in 
outwitting and outwilling all with wliom trade 
brings one into contact. Business was to him simply 
a department of duty; success meant enlarged 
facilities for spiritual and mental cultivation the 
means of helping the needy and deserving, and' con- 
tributing to the material resources of the kingdom 
of God ; and tlie speedier attainment of such an 
income as would justify his retiring from business 
making way for younger men, and devoting himself 
to the humble offices of Christian philanthropy. 

h is impossible to understand and correlate the 
business qualities of Mr. Powell without noting 
how they all grew out of this root-all radiated 



HIS SINGLENESS OF PURPOSE. 



169 



from this centre, regard to the. will of God and 
the interests of tJie eternal future. It could not 
be justly said (>f him, " Mr. Powell is a very religious 
man, and very free with his money, hut he cer- 
tainly has a great talent for stealing a march upon 
you and beating you down in price, and he makes 
good use of it." All through life, he was not so 
much an auctioneer's clerk, or a warehouseman, or 
a commission agent, or a merchant, as a doer of the 
Word. Hence that conscientiousness and consist- 
ency, that keeping — to use an artist's phrase— and 
that roundness of character which impressed all who 
had the opportunity of watching him. Hence his 
character was as clear, translucent, and homogeneous 
as the object-glass of a great telescope ; and for the 
same reason— it had been fused again and again in 
the white heat of affliction. He might well say 
with David, " Thy loving correction hath made me 
great." (Psalm xviii., Prayer P>ook version.) There 
was no incongruity, no distinction between his 
saintly and his secular life. His moral excellencies 
60 shaded off into each other that it was impossible 
to trace the boundary-line between shrewdness and 
generosity, or to say where benevolence ended' and 
cautiousness began. His estimable qualities did not 
seem to inhere in separate organs, but to be univer- 
sally interfused. A keen observer of character 
remarked to the writer: "Mr. Powell seemed to 
me a rare exception to the general rule, 'The 
children of this world are in their generation wiser 
than the children of light ; ' for he brought into his 
religion all the acuteness, energy, and system which 
8 



170 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS SINGLENESS OF PUBIOSE. 



171 



distinguished him as a man of business." An emi- 
nent Congregationalist minister, the Rev. Henr^^ 
Allon, one of the editors of the " British Quarterly," 
gives the following testimony : 

" In the whole of my acquaintance I know no one 
who impressed me with more perfect esteem for the 
reality, simplicity, and naturalness of his piety. He 
walked with God, in the common ways of life, and 
with the natural gait of men ; and made devout 
service of God not a separate thing of life, but life 
itself. We hardly suspect how quickly quiet good- 
ness like his comes upon ns until we are called upon 
to estimate what we have lost." 

Yet his spiritual-mindedness sat naturally upon 
him. He never attempted a compromise between 
the interests of this world and the next. 'No one 
could detect in him two interchangeable characters 
— a man of business and a religious man. The 
whole mass of his secular dealings and duties was 
leavened by the spirit of his Christianity. lie had 
not one class of feelings and one economy of action 
for the Sabbath, and another for the six days. 
His Sabbath was the first day of the week, and not 
the last. It did not just wipe off the shortcomings 
of the six days, but gave to them its own celestial 
tone, and imbued them with its sacred influence. 
He never accommodated himself to the conven- 
tional code of worldly morality, but witnessed 
against it by his whole spirit and conduct. 

His business lettei-s to his friends, with reference 
to the choice of employes or partners, and his lect- 
ures to young men, overflow with the conviction 



that Christian character is the only sure ground of 
trustworthiness in business, and that sound conver- 
sion to God is the only true basis of Christian char- 
acter. To the Young Men's Mutual Improvement 
Society, Denbigh Road, Bayswater, he says : " All 
your labor will be in vain, unless you have first 
sought ' the kingdom of God and His righteousness.' 
Your first care must ever be to keep your hearts in 
a right relation to God. Having this peace, through 
Jesus Christ, you may then safely pray, ' Lord, in- 
crease my abilities.' " 

Again, in his lecture on " Development," he re- 
minds them, " Spiritual development must be first. 
Many excellencies you may acquire, by sheer indus- 
try, because you already possess tlieir germ. But 
the power which is to change your heart comes not 
by nature. It must be obtained from God. Re- 
jecting every other mode by which men seek it, 
throw yourself helpless before God, and ask, ask, 
never cease to ask, until He gives you His Holy 
Spirit. You will then stand in the relation to God 
of a loving child to a loving Father ; and hence- 
forth grow in grace, and in the knowledge of your 
Lord and Saviour." 

To a friend in Australia, asking him to send out 
a managing clerk, he writes : " Religious principle 
is the only principle really to be relied on ; although, 
as we know. Church membership is not an unfailing 
guarantee for its possession." To a young man 
whose temporal interests he Avas endeavoring to ad- 
vance, he thus writes : 



,i -.^ 



I 



172 



LIFE OF WALTEB POWELL. 



if 

3,1 



''•it 
1 



1:^: ' 



ft 

l«4 i 



" I know not what views or feelings you enter- 
tain on the subject of religion. Let me say, it is the 
first requisite. It is the groundwork of all good 
conduct and duty. Without it you will fail in 
everything. With it you can conquer every diffi- 
culty. It will sustain you in every trial, sweeten 
all your toil, fill your heart with peace and joy. 
Without it the soul dies for want of food. It is a 
power which gives victory — the most glorious victory 
— over one's own passions, over sin of every kind. 
You cannot do without it. I do not wish to weary 
you on this topic, but if you feel an interest in the 
subject, I shall be glad to ask one of the many ex- 
cellent Christian ministers I know in Victoria to in- 
vite you occasionally to his house, that by inquiry 
and conversation you may thoroughly inform your- 
self on this great subject. I should be glad indeed 
to see you nobly struggling, and eventually raising 
yourself to your right position." 

His religion was as genial, cheerful, and indulgent 
as it was strict and earnest. This appears from the 
whole tone of his letters. In reply to a facetious 
epistle from a young correspondent, he says; "I 
am glad to see that you have not forgotten * the little 
busy bee ' of Dr. Watts. Even the pious Doctor 
was not so etraight-laced as yourself. I am sure he 
would not have restrained the industrious insect 
from working on Sundays. Well, let all your fun 
and merriment be as harmless as this. I am sorry 

that is so great a fidget. I think the right way 

is to give business our attention, to work at it with 



HIS SINGLENESS OF PTEPOSE. 



1Y3 



I 



manly energy, to do all honestly, and in the fear of 
God, but resolutely to avoid corroding care, and the 
perpetual scheming how to make a shilling out of 
ninepence; to cheerfully ask God's blessing on 
one's business, shunning everything on which His 
"blessing cannot be confidently asked ; and, withal, 
to let our business influence be for the good of oth- 
ers. As regards your ' old horse Theology,' I shall 
not quarrel with you. There is an infinite variety 
in the human mind. We cannot all think alike, 
even as to the teaching of the New Testament. 
Still, there are certain matters on which our Saviour 
insists, as essential qualifications for His kingdom. 
What about that total change of mind, represented 
under the name of the new hirth — the ' being re- 
newed in the spirit of ' our ' minds ' and other kin- 
dred expressions ? which assuredly imply something, 
and that so marked, that no one can be long in doubt 
as to whether such a change has ever passed upon 
him or not. No, there is a higher and inner life, 
which it is your privilege to enjoy, which you can 
only secure by making a complete surrender of 
yourself to Christ, and receiving His Spirit to work 
within you. The subject is too great to discuss in 
a few lines, but I recommend to your attention a 
little book, which I send you by post, written by one 
of the most earnest preachei*s of the time, an Epis- 
copalian layman." * 

His views on the non-essentials of religion were 

* The correspondent was himself a GhurchmaxL 



174 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



in accordance with the following quaint paraphrase 
of 

Romans xrv. 6. 

Some Christians to the Lord regard a day, 

And others to the Lord regard it not : 
Now, though these seem to choose a different way, 

Yet both at last to the same point are brought. 

He that regards the day will reason thus : 
This glorious day, our Saviour and our King 

Performed some mighty act of love for us ; 
Observe the time in memory of the thing. 

Thus he to Jesus points his kind intent, 

And offers prayers and praises in His name : 

As to the Lord alone his love is meant. 

The Lord accepts it, and who dares to blame ? 

For though the outward shell be not the meat, 
'Tis not rejected when the meat's within ; 

Though superstition is a vain conceit, 
Commemoration, surely, is no sin. 

He also that to days pays no regard. 

The shadow only for the substance quits. 

Towards the Saviour's presence presses hard, 
And outward things through eagerness omits. 

For warmly to himself he thus reflects : 
My Lord alone I count my chiefest good, 

All empty forms my craving soul rejects, 
And seeks the solid riches of His blood. 

All days and times I place my sole delight 

In Him, the only object of my care ; 
External shows for His dear sake I slight. 

Lest aught with Jesus my respect should share. 



HIS SINGLENESS OF PURPOSE. 175 

Let not the observer therefore entertain 

Against his brother any secret grudge, 
Nor let the non-observer call him vain, 

But use his freedom, and forbear to judge. 

Thus both may bring their motives to the test, 
Our condescending Lord will both approve ; 

Let each pursue the way he thinks the best; 
He cannot walk amiss that walks in love. 

To a young friend who had been unsuccessful : 
" Nothing is lost whilst honor and virtue are re- 
tained. I believe you will pay to the uttermost 
farthing. If it leave you penniless, you have wife 
and children, good health, and the prime of life. 
You are living in a young and energetic country, 
where men who go down can, by good conduct, 
readily rise again. Wife and children are worth 
every struggle that can be made for them. Besides, 
there is a God who cares for you, though you may 
not have thought enough of Him. He may, in 
mercy, have placed you in this extremity, to drive 
you to seek His aid, and to give Him your heart, 
and to learn that religion is not a round of ceremo- 
nies, but life, comfort, and love—* the love of God 
shed abroad' in your heart by the Holy Ghost. 
You have not besought God in the oi\\j jpracticaZ 
way~Jy Christ, In your distress try the plan that 
has never failed me in ray affliction, distress, and 
poverty. Cry unto God, and say you will not rest 
until He accepts you for the sake of your Saviour. 
You must have the Holy Spirit to make you a new 
creature, or you will perish. Beg and entreat of 
Him that He will give you faith— power to trust 



\ 
i' 



176 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



H: 



l< I 



Him wholly. If you act thus, God will accept you 
as Ilia son, and you will be able really to call Ilim 
Father, You will gain peace, will find that you 
have only just begun to live. There is no difficulty 
in pei-suading God to be reconciled to you. lie is 
already ' reconciled by the death ' of your Redeem- 
er. The only reconciliation now wanting is on your 
part; and if once you, with a brokqn heart, tell Ilim 
you are willing to be His for time and eternity, you 
will find by the hitherto unknown peace and joy 
springing in your heart, that you have become a 
child of God. I have talked thus on religion, and 
given you a few directions that never have been 
known to fail, because there is no other comfort or 
ease for a distressed mind. God requires heart- 
service ; and real temporal good, and, of course, all 
spiritual good, depends upon our hearts being in a 
right relation to God. There is no other foundation 
on which to build true and abiding honor, virtue, 
truth, and love. Make the Scriptures your constant 
study. Establish family prayer in your house, if you 
have it not. Conduct the prayei-s yourself, extem- 
pore. You will soon find yourself in a right rela- 
tion to God, and obtain all the comfort from the 
promises which sustain every true Christian in the 
time of calamity. Think you that the eternal God, 
whose name is Love, who feeds the young ravens, 
who gave His adorable Son for you, regards you, 
your wife, and your little ones with unconcern ? No ! 
lie may, in love, by tliis unfavorable turn in your 
afFaii-s, be drawing you to seek Him, so that your 
whole future life may be gladness. ' ^^^ first tho 



1 



HIS filNGLEKESS OF PtTEPOSE. 



177 



. 



t 



kingdom of God and His righteousness.' You have, 
heretofore, begun at the wrong end ; and, of course, 
failed. Seize hold of the precious opportunity now 
afforded by your afflictions, and henceforth let secu- 
lar things be engaged in, in view of your new rela- 
tion to God as His child. I am satisfied that sound 
piety will give you the steadiness, peace, and con- 
tentment, so essential for guiding temporal matters 
with discretion, besides the indescribable comfort of 
knowing that the God of all power and love has a 
direct interest in all your affairs, and will guide you 
with His eye. Pray earnestly for direction as to 
what step to take ; the best path then will soon ap- 
pear." Then follow suggestions as to the wisest 
course. " Do not go among a small community. 
If you want to do business, get to one of the centres 
of population. Do not trouble about my account. 
Pay me only when you can afford it ; and should 
you get into extremity use the enclosed $500 draft. 
Do without it if you can, as I have plenty to do. 

" Until a man recognizes God as his father, and is 
reconciled to Him, all will go wrong with him, and 
worse, every day he lives. The first duty is to be 
reconciled to God." 

There is, then, no incongruity between business 
and devotion. Daniel, recording his sublime inter- 
cessions and subsequent revelations, simply adds, 
" Then I arose, and went about the King's husinessP 
And Christianity gives to commerce its own special 
consecration. The Forerunner, when asked by the 
tax-far me- * What shall we do ? " quietly replies, 
" Exact no more than is appointed you." To the 
8* 



178 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



commercial Corinthians, St. Paul writes : " Let 
every man abide in the same calling wherein he was 
called." And, again, "Brethren, let every man, 
wherein he is called, therein abide with God." 






i 



CHAPTER XIV. 

HIS BUSINESS PEINCIPLES AND CHARACTERISTICS. 

We have seen that Mr. Powell's social and com- 
mercial virtues grew out of his duteous regard to 
the will of God, that his civic character was the 
natural product of his religious convictions, and that 
his convictions were derived from his creed, that 
creed not being a lifeless tradition, but a substantial 
verity which he was " persuaded of and embraced." 
His creed, again, though initially derived, of course, 
from the religious teaching under which he was 
providentially brought at the turning-point of his 
spiritual history, was carefully compared with and 
checked by Divine revelation. He was a spiritually- 
minded man of business, who did abide in God's 
tahernacle ; cultivating daily communion with God, 
and finding the home of his heart in the realized 
presence of the Invisible. He possessed, in a high 
degree, the cardinal virtues of Christian commercial 
ethics, — integrity, industry, benevolence, truthful- 
ness ; but all these divinely-human attributes, which 
should, like God's glory, fill both heaven and earth, 
had their root in holiness. And holiness is har- 
mony with the sympathies and antipathies of God. 
Hence, Mr. Powell could never be charged with 
that selfish absorption in his own spiritual solace 



-IT 



180 



LIFE OF WALTEE POWELL. 



and security which Coleridge so truly calls, " otlier- 
worldliness ; " nor with that infirm sentimentality of 
benevolence which tlie same acute writer terms, 
" not goodness, but goodyness." 

It was not in his nature (renewed as it had been 
by the grace of God) to obtain an advantage over a 
competitor in trade by any of those mean, unworthy 
acts which are the constant resort of small and 
tricky souls to draw away from others the custom- 
ers they have fairly and honestly gained, lie had 
no " leading articles" sold at cost to tempt unwary 
buyers. He would not stoop to deception, nor allow 
any of his employes to practise it. He would never 
permit, for example, goods of German manufacture 
to be stamped as if made in England, nor let a 
bronzed figure be mistaken for real bronze. On the 
other liand, he did not hold up his Australian hard- 
ware establishment, which was for several years the 
largest in that country, as a great philanthropic in- 
stitution erected simply for the supply of the public 
with " the best and cheapest agricultural and mining 
instruments," etc. Ilis direct object was to acquire 
an honest competence, which would both entitle and 
enable him to retire from business as early as possi- 
ble, and devote his leisure, his property, and his 
unspent mental and bodily energies to the service 
of Christ and of humanity. But, meanwhile, he 
felt himself to be responsible to God for fidelity to 
man. He held that the man of business, as well as 
the statesman, the poet, or the preacher, must serve 
" his own generation by the will of God." 

His directions to his managers show that the rate 



t 



) 






BUSINESS PEINCIPLES AND CHARACTERISTICS. 181 

at which goods were sold was carefully calculated 
upon a fixed principle of fair and |)ermaneut remu- 
neration, "not to be deviated from by any sales- 
man." lie writes, " I have full faith in our mode 
of business, and am convinced that it could not be 
done lower and done honestly." He had not two 
consciences, — a buying conscience, and a selling 
conscience. 

In his vocabulary, salableness was a synonym 
for serviceableness : e.g.^ " I have picked out a large 
variety of patterns of paraffin lamps, as I am per- 
suaded that if you push the trade, by advertising, 
etc., it will be large and profitable, because. Firstly, 
the principle of the lamp is simple, involving no 
trouble. Secondly, the light is brilliant, putting 
gas into the shade, as proved by experiment here. 
Thirdly, because of the wonderful cheapness both 
of lamps and oil, especially the latter, etc. ; so I 
hope you will push the trade with spirit." His re- 
liance was on the superiority of his goods, and not 
on any species of humbug or deception. For the 
same purpose, we find him wi'iting to his managers, 

" I shall keep to the brand (of iron) only. I 

think by this means we shall secure a splendid iron 
trade." 

But it must not be forgotten that Mr. Powell's 
minute and sensitive commercial integrity was the 
outflow of his spiritual-mindedness. A sentence 
with which he concludes a letter to his managers in 
Australia is strikingly expressive of that principle 
of fidelity to the interests and objects of an absent 
master, on which he himself strove to act towards 



it * 



182 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



his unseen Lord, in matters not literally defined in the 
written word. " As many things will arise which I 
cannot possibly advise upon at this distance, in all 
such cases act as you believe I should act were I pres- 
ent. Whatever the consequence, I shall be satisfied." 
This sensitive integrity Mr. Powell earnestly im- 
pressed upon his friends and co-religionists. In his 
letters one meets with such sentences as this : " It 
is not just to settle property on your wife, children, 
or others, when your capital is barely suflScient to 
maintain your credit." 

All this, it may be said, is very well. Truthful- 
ness, integrity, and fairness are very fine qualities, 
no doubt ; hut the merchant or shopkeeper who re- 
lies for success wholly on these virtues, hacked hy 
industry, prudence, caution, and frugality, is not 
likely to have much to give away. Certainly not, 
unless some rich uncle should die and leave him a 
large fortune. Other qualities must be bracketed 
with these, of which they form the necessary coun- 
terpart. Thus conscientiousness must be coupled 
with shrewdness ; fairness linked to wariness, fru- 
gality to generosity, and cautiousness to energy. 
And it is the rare combination of these qualities 
which makes Mr. Powell's cliaracter so well worth 
study. Let us now look at the obverse of the medal. 
Let us note what may be called the supplemental 
virtues of business — shrewdness, astuteness, firm- 
ness, energy, and push. Mr. Powell evidently pos- 
sessed these qualities in a high degree, but they 
were always under the control of conscientiousness. 
He applied to his business transactions and relations 




t 



. 



'• 



" 



BUSINESS PRINCIPLES AND CHAEACTEEISTICS. 183 

the mingled admonition and direction given by our 
Lord to his disciples : " Be ye wise as serpents and 
harmless as doves." One need scarcely say that it 
is not open to the Christian to sin, though it be in 
self-defence. There may be, and doubtless have 
been, places and periods in which for a time " he 
that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey." 
Circumstances will occur in the life of most men of 
business in which the alternative is to do wrong or 
suffer loss. A man may have to make his election 
between the being the victim of fraud or a rival in 
fraud. In such a case, the Christian tradesman's 
course is clear : he will rather suffer wrong, and 
" commit " himself " to Him that judgeth right- 
eously." But there is neither good sense nor char- 
ity in loving one's neighbor better than one's self. 
It is not only admissible, but right, to meet effront- 
eiy by self-possession, and wiliness by wariness. 
When stupid, unyielding, and evermore exacting 
selfishness dreams that it has brilliantly outwitted 
plodding conscientiousness, and finds the tables 
turned, it is a very edifying discovery. To take ad- 
vantage of a neighbor's innocent ignorance, or piti- 
able necessity, is a very different thing from using 
an unjust and unfair man's unskilful, overreaching 
avarice as the means of its own defeat. 

In studying closely Mr. Powell's modes of con- 
ducting business, I have found that whatever might 
from some points of view wear the appearance of 
hardness or keenness, resulted from the determina- 
tion to secure the fair and full advantage of prompt 
payment and large orders. In accomplishing this 



184 






I 



t ■' 



n 

Pi 

Hi 



if 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



both for himself and those who had intrusted him 
with their commissions, he certainly exhibited great 
acuteness and persistence. But lie only labored to 
secure the terms which would make continuous busi- 
ness transactions equally favorable to both parties. 
His object in his second visit to England was, as we 
have seen, to make such arrangements witli manu- 
facturers and agents as " could not be improved," 
and need not be disturbed. He resolutely objected 
to terms which placed him at disadvantage in com- 
petition. He did not hesitate to use pressure, to 
"put the screw on," when he perceived that such a 
process was necessary to bVing a house to an equita- 
ble arrangement. Of course, he would not deal 
with a firm on conditions less favorable than those 
which had been readily conceded to him by some of 
the highest in the trade. Himself rigidly punctual 
and exact, he was correspondingly severe with oth- 
ers, keeping them up to his own mark. He would 
not allow parties who had inflicted on him the anx- 
iety and annoyance resulting from the non-fulfil- 
ment of an engagement, through negligence or pref- 
erence of others, to impose upon him, in addition 
to anxiety and annoyance, the loss entailed by the 
late arrival of goods to an overstocked market. He 
found that respectable houses, acting on the princi- 
ple of caveat emptor, would permit liim to forego 
certain advantages, if he seemed <;omparatively in- 
different about them. In short, he had to make his 
own terms in accordance with the dictates of his con- 
science and judgment, and the best information as 
to the usages of the best houses. His principle was 



BUSINESS PKmCIPLES AND CHARACTEEISTICS. 185 

that, not an equal, but an equable remuneration (in 
proportion to promptitude of payment and extent 
of order) was the only equitable arrangement. He 
laid it down as a principle, "No one has a right to 
trade on my capital." 

He writes, " I have never, I trust, made any claim 
which I do not conscientiously believe to be strictly 
honest." And he kept as sharp a lookout upon the 
consciences of those with whom he had to deal as 
upon his own. He would not allow others to take 
an advantage over him which his principles did not 
permit him to take over them. He manifested an 
instinctive wide-awa/ieness. He would neither over- 
reach nor be overreached. Of course, his firmness 
and exactness were inccmvenient, and often irritating 
to persons whose business habits were not like his ; 
and were regarded by them as unamiable and an- 
noying qualities. When be would be exact, they 
thought him exacting. But this could not be helped. 
Business cannot be adjusted to the comfort of un- 
business-like people. Thus Mr. Powell writes to 

his manager : " is evidently not much in love 

with you, but he is a man who has to be dealt with 
firmly. Show lenity, if there is a fair prospect ; 
but I am afraid his case is incurable." This firm- 
ness on his part was sometimes the commercial sal- 
vation of less resolute men. To his manager he 

writes again : " 's matter must have given you 

much trouble, but it is a great satisfaction that it is 
brought to such a close. I hope he will duly ac- 
knowledge the obligation of being saved from de- 
struction ; and, as to , if he get extricated. 



im 



UFE OP WALTER POWELL. 



he ought to be chiefly on his knees with thankfulness, 
all the rest of his life." 

He found that he must not only master " the art 
and trade," but also the "mystery" of an importer 
of hardware. Hence, he resolved "to acquire as 
many secrets of the trade as would keep " bim " go- 
ing for many years to come." As in obtaining tbis 
information, and securing these terms, he had in- 
curred great trouble and expense, he was wisely 
careful that competing liouses in Australia should 
not gain gratuitously, and in a few minutes, the in- 
formation which had cost him so much travelling 
by sea and land, and such a large outlay of time 
strength, and money. That would be allowing 
others to acquire hardly-won knowledge at his ex- 
pense, and to his detriment. Hence he would not 
let even salesmen see his invoices. In short, he was 
not easily over-seen, and therefore not readily over- 
reached. Few things annoyed him so much as the 
" scattering information obtained at great toil and 
cost." The knowledge thus acquired, he said, is as 
much " my property as anything else procured by 
great expenditure of thought, time, and money." 
It was by the sagacious use of this liardly-acquircd 
information, and, by purchasing " largely and regu- 
larly from the same houses," that he gained influ- 
ence and became " master of the position." He 
saved over $8,000 a year by the more advantageous * 
arrangements secured during his brief stay. His 
tone in negotiating terms gave the just impression 
that if the party applied to would not accept the 
proposed terms, some other party would. 



yi*- 



BUSINESS PEINCIPLES AHD CHABACTEEISTICS. 187 



■^ 



He writes : " None of the salesmen ought to see 
the invoices. If they should, they may gratuitously 
hand over in an hour knowledge to our competitors 
which it has cost us and our allies many arduous 
years to attain. The art of buying well in England 
takes a lifetime to acquire. Let, therefore, this 
precious knowledge be carefully guarded. Let the 
invoice-books be kept under lock and key." 

One thing, however, is apparent in studying Mr. 
PowelFs business letters. He experienced a natural 
pleasure in the discovery that his promptitude had 
baffled those who, with self-complacent cleverness 
and twinkling fore-exultation, had come with eager 
purpose to forestall him — a day after the fair ! 
But the exhilaration was perfectly boyish and inno- 
cent. " In malice " he was a child ; " howbeit, in 
understanding " he was a man. In his letters to his 
manager, one meets with communications like this : 

" has been buzzing about and , 

saying that he wants tons of . But it will 

take and four months to get it to- 
gether, so I do not think you need fear a great glut 
of the article, and I hope we shall checkmate him." 
He took good care that his com/petitors should not 
distance him hy virtue of higher mental and moral 
qualities. He strove to meet, or even to anticipate, 
the public taste, as well as the public necessities. 
Quick payment and large orders entitle to favor- 
able terms. The nimhle ninejpence is better than 
the slow shilling. These were his maxims in deal- 
ing with manufacturers and merchants. " I hope I 
shall receive such splendid remittances from you " 



188 



LIFE OP WALTER POWELL. 






(liis managers) " during the summer, that I shall be 
in a position to dictate rather than submit to terms." 
Ilis capital, bearing an iiuusually lai'ge proportion to 
the extent of his business, enabled him to make 
" splendid armngements with the best houses in the 
worst states of the money-market," and to *^ take 
high ground " with firms which required " keeping 
in check." 

Ilis mode of dealing with defaulters was a judi- 
cious combination of firmness and consideration. 
lie never resisted the cry, " Have patience with me, 
and I will pay thee all ; " but he insisted on regu- 
lar and regulated payments, at a ratio adjusted to 
the ascertained means of the debtor. 

A few extracts may suftice for illustration : 

" We pay cash for our purchases every week, and 
give our correspondents the benefit of every penny 
that ready money will command. If we once began 
to purchase on credit, we should be on a level with 
other people. We should have delays in getting 
goods from the makers, and quotations of prices 
would be higher. Now we possess all the advan- 
tages a cash system can give. Manufacturers are 
most anxious for our orders ; they know that when 
we ask for a quotation, they are placed in competition 
with several makers of the same article, all eager to 
supply us for cash, and that they must cut it fine to 
secure our order ; while tlieir anxiety to get ready 
money always acts as an incentive in getting goods 
quickly out of their hand, whilst those who buy on 
credit have to wait. 

" I am glad you go so particularly into all appar- 



\ 



BUSINESS PRINCIPLES AND CHARACJTERISTICS. 189 

ent discrepancies, and point out where you think we 
have not done so well. It enables us to keep a 
vigilant eye upon the manufacturers, and if you are 
in error you are all the more satisfied when you 
have the explanation." Thus the misunderstandings 
of merchants are the renewals of confidence. — " Bear 
in mind that it is equally important that we should 
know when the goods please you ; when you consid- 
er them well bought, and of the right kind, it enables 
lis to go with confidence to the same makers. We 
know whom to trust. Let me know, also, of the 
arrival of each shipment, and in what condition it 
turns out of the ship. It is a check upon the ves- 
sels, and gives us something to guide us during the 
ensuing year." 

Our friend was religiously stnct as to the good 
conduct of all his servants and employes. lie writes 
to his manager : 

" I think there is no alternative but to send 

away, and I authorize you to do so, unless he 

remain perfectly sober, industrious, and obedient. 
Because, to keep him in employment, while he con- 
tinues to drink, is only to find him the means of 
gratifying his evil propensities, besides setting such 
a shocking example to all your subordinates. Our 
duty is plain, though painful. No hope is there for 
A?*m, even temporally, while he remains uneonv-erted ; 
and the only thing likely to lead to reflection, which 
might thus issue, is — suffering ! " * 

He clearly saw that many a good man's prospects, 

* Mr. Powell greatly befriended this man's family, when left 
destitute. 






'i 



i ] 



190 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



family influence, and religious reputation, have been 
ruined by a want of firmness. 

" I was exceedingly grieved to hear of 's 

failure. He is the victim of his own good-nature, 
for a more gentle and guileless creature I believe 
there is not." 

" I think that friendship in business should not go 
beyond this, — preference when your friend supplies 
as cheaply as another. If he will not, you must 
leave in self-defence, or your customers would soon 
leave you. To purchase well is a necessity." 

" You must keep in mind the necessity of coming 

to a plain and written agreement with 's 

agent as to the future of warehouse. This 

must be effected at least twelve months before the 
lease expires ; so that if he ask too high a rate, you 
can go elsewhere, and also shut up the place six 
months before you leave it, and thus destroy the 
connection." 



CHAPTER XV. 



HIS BUSINESS CHAKACTERISTICS, CONTINUED. 

Mb. Po^vell was as exact in guarding his own 
interests as those of his customers. Thus he writes 
about " Starkey's patent beam : " " The pivots work 
on the finest balance without wearing. It is desir- 
able for every one that wishes an exact article. I 
have ordered him to make a very good counter 
machine for warehouse use, to prevent the men 
weighing small quantities of goods on the large plat- 
form scale, by which process I think we lose con- 
siderably. I wish you would test a small quantity 
of nails, weighed first on the platform scale, and 
afterwards in a finer counter scale." 

He judged that if salaries had been raised during 
a period of exceptional prosperity, a reduction of 
salary was right when such exceptional prosperity 
was succeeded by a time of corresponding depression. 
As at such seasons rents fall, and the price of most 
commodities is lowered, he held that wages should 
not be kept up. His idea was that em;ployes should 
sympathize with and share in both the prosperity 
and the adversity of their principals. We have seen 
how honorably he acted upon this maxim when he 
was yet a servant. 

To what extent the very conspicuous qualities of 



192 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



Mr. PoweH's personality on which we have touched 
were traceable to temperament and early history, 
it would not be easy to detennine. Certainly, they 
were not due to constitutional vigor, or exuberant 
health, since he was a perpetual invalid, and, to use 
his own words, was always "creaking." In his 
boyhood, these essential elements of success grew 
out of his noble ambition to retrieve the fortunes of 
his family ; during his later years of clerkship they 
were sustained by fidelity to his employer, and a 
thorough, genial interest in his employer's success. 
In his earlier career in Melbourne, necessity might 
be the mother of industry as well as of invention. 
During tlie prevalence of the gold mania, the stim- 
ulus of a passing season of unparalleled prosperity 
might keep him up to the higliest pitch of effort and 
endurance; but the self -same, all-conquering indus- 
try distinguished him as principal of a large mer- 
cantile establishment. He had no idea of relaxa- 
tion but as the preparation for intenser work. His 
periods of sojourn in his native country seemed 
sacred to hard work. A few days with his maternal 
relatives at Worcester, a day at Oxford, and an 
evening at the Crystal Palace, indulging his musical 
taste by hearing the " Messiah," were almost the only 
breaks in months of strenuous toil, amid countless 
inducements to, and ample facilities for, the gratifi- 
cation of his lively sensibility to manifold enjoy- 
ment. Incidental evidence of this high-strung 
activity is abundant throughout his enormous busi- 
ness correspondence. To give detailed proof would 




HIS BUSINESS CHARACTERISTICS, CONTINUED. 193 

be to publish a record of his daily life. An example 
or two may suffice : 

" London, December 11th, 1857.— It is now twelve 
days since the ' Emeu's ' mail was delivered, and six 
since that of the ' Simla.' R. and II.'s order was in 
their hands the day after the arrival of each mail. 
I have spent three days in railway carriages, two 
days in Sheffield, and four in Birmingham, etc. ; 
had two Sundays, and the remaining day was 
occupied in writing and placing orders. I went with 
M.'s buyer to every house in Sheffield, London, 
Birmingham, Dudley, and Willenhall, in many 
cases placed goods at lower rates, obtained better 
discounts, and promise of increased attention to the 

orders." 

He justly required his employes to emulate his 
own energy and painstaking. He writes, "I am 

not sorry you have got rid of : I expect you 

will have to pack after him, unless he gets 

smarter." It must be admitted that his own labo- 
riousness was sometimes carried to excess. Always 
at the highest pitch of activity which his strength 
could fairly sustain, in times of extraordinary pres- 
sure he went beyond due bounds in unrelieved con- 
tinuity of toil, working not only " like a slave," but 
as no humane man would allow a slave to work ; in 
his anxiety that the work should be done well, and 
that no interest should suffer. 

Another secret of his success was concentration. 
In lectures and letters, he insists on Lord Brough- 
am's axiom, " Be a whole man to one thing at a 
time." To a friend he writes, " I have reasons for 
9 



194 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS BUSIKESS CHARACTERISTICS, CONTINUED. 195 



not going into business in England, but ratlier than 
be checkmated for the want of good agents, I would 
turn to and try myself." To another : ^* I am glad 
you retain your disgust of politics. Let others 
* frustrate their knavish tricks,' but stick you to the 
warehouse, and tell the 'patriots' that you will live 
and learn, and perhaps take a seat at the Council 
Board at the mature age of fifty ; hoping by that 
time to have your children settled, and to be your- 
self retired from business with a rent of $15,000. 
Then you can afford to talk, now you must work. 
The * orators ' will upbraid you. ' Can you stand 
coolly by and see your country' (namely, the stump 
orators) ' drifting to ruin ? ' To this you must calmly 
reply, ' It will be a happy clearance for the country 
when all the stumps are stubbed out.' " 

To another. — " I am sorry you have had so much 
worry with the railway matters. These secular 
trusteeships are unthankful oflices. I hope you will 
soon be clear of them, and stick solely to your own 
business. With a large retail business you will 
have enough to do." 

Again.—" I am sorry that is in a bad way. 

If he will affect the learned man and the philoso- 
pher, rather than the shopkeeper, it must needs go 
hard with him in such pinching times." 

Once more. — " It is only by close watching and 
comparison that a business can be consolidated and 
improved. Now your attention is not distracted by 
other affairs, you will be continually discovering 
modes of developing the business, and of working it 
in the most economical manner," 



I 



♦' 



Mr. Powell knew that a day would come when 
his Lord would command the " servants to be called 
unto Him to whom He had given money, that He 
might know how much every man had gained hy 
tradingr By trading^ not by cheating ; for trading 
is not cheating, and cheating is not trading. Gained 
hy trading, — the very object of trade is gain, and 
gain implies skill as well as toil, and this makes 
trading an intellectual exercise. Mr. Powell's strong 
sense of responsibility, his acute feeling of a sacred 
trusteeship in all the honorable gains of a conscien- 
tiously conducted business, would not allow him to 
be indifferent as to his just claims on others. So 
much conceded to the exacting, unyielding, or 
shuffling selfishness of others, was so much taken 
from the poor, or from the exigencies of the Church 

of Christ. " If will not pay quietly, he must 

be made to pay," he writes of one who tried to evade 
a clear obligation. lie saw, too* that his duty as a 
servant of the public required him to make the best 
terms he could with the manufacturers, since such 
terms enabled him to put a lower price upon the 
articles which he procured from the latter to meet 
the wants of the former ; e,g.^ " You would be sur- 
prised at the advantage we derive for our customers, 
in very many cases, by placing the manufacturers in 
competition with each other, and getting special quo- 
tations." " Went to and Co. but could not get 

them to alter their prices on^ penny. After a des- 
perate battle of two hours, I had to threaten them 
with withdrawing my orders. I succeeded in get- 
ting a further reduction of two and a half per cent." 



196 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



« The date of my return will depend entirely 
upon your reports and remittances. If both be 
favorable, I shall not return till April next year ; 
if unfavorable, I shall come next November. It 
would never do for me to remain in England with 
small remittances coming forward. I should have 
and , all down on me ; but if thor- 
oughly well sustained, I shall be able to take high 

^T" ' ao not select their goods, but leave it to 
the manufacturer. In such cases you are sure to 
suffer, as they put in goods they cannot sell them- 
selves " " I find that has no buyer here, no 

one to select his patterns or keep the makers in 
check. This alone is five to seven and a half per 

cent, out of his pocket." , , , ., . ^ 

« My practice is, on the arrival of the mail, to go 
through the indents, and see what freights I shall 
want for the ensuing month, and then go round to 
all the agents who have good vessels, and make the 
cheapest bargain I can. I sometimes ^nake a good 
one with a vessel that wants a few ons to fill up. 

„I told my business would be five times 

its present amount if they would cut it fine. They, 
however say they prefer a smaller business with 
'rallr profit IL afraid they will live to repent 
their policy. At any rate I shall not do much with 

^^""[nstead of allowing cash discount, the interest 
i8 to commence at three months from date of m- 
voice, which will allow me a uniform rate of dis- 
count. On any invoice where the cash chscount is 



I 



HIS BUSINESS CHARACTERISTICS, CONTINUED. 197 

allowed, the interest, of course, commences from 
date of shipment. They will not send direct, but 
through . As a kind of check on them, how- 
ever, I made them consent to draw for only four- 
fifths of each invoice ; the other fifth you are 
regularly to remit direct to them, three months 
after arrival of the goods ; so on arrival of the ves- 
sel, let it be entered on your bill-book as a regular 
engagement. The remaining four-fifths of each in- 
voice they will always draw for through at 

four months. I have cut them down, you will at 
once perceive, considerably. A clear three and a 
half per cent, is saved by the new arrangement." 

" I see this cunning gentleman has outwitted you. 
"We must use as much ingenuity as himself, and I 
hope a little more." If he thought that any unfair 
advantage was gained over him by a competing 
house, in dealing with manufacturers, he would 
complain frankly ; but if complaint were unavailing, 
he would defend himself by a " change of tactics," 
and could play "a very cautious game;" always 
keeping, however, clearly within the bounds of 
truth and honor. 

He could make a "stir" about an injustice, and 
give " battle for long hours " with obstinate unfair- 
ness. 

" They have deceived me often in dealing with 
them. Trust nothing but facts." 

" Remember that we had considerable breakage 

in one of 's invoices. In estimating the damage, 

take into consideration the expense we were at in 
sending and receiving back machines, also the 



198 



LIFE OF WALTER TOWELL. 



Biniths' wagos while repairing, and the difference in 
value between a repaired machine and a sound one. 
Let the claim be fair, and at the same time fully 
cover the loss sustained. I think they will entertam 
it : at any rate I shall get something." 

"I hope by this time you have quite subdued the 
„reat -— If lie will not submit to your direc- 
tions, let him go. Do not fail to keep him up to 

the mark." . . , , i . 

"We must not be too timid with the bank; a 

good, bold course is the best way to get properly 

served by them." , j _*• • 

He had great faith in the virtues of advertising. 
Hesavs- "With our facilities and valuable stock, 
Ir name ought to be before the public every 

^^Get to allow the overcharge. If they will 

not, and the iron does not suit yon, throw it on 
their hands, as it was shipped contrary to mstruc- 

'"« If we are to look for development in our trade, 
we must increase the means of showing our goods, 
and have premises worthy the stock we could dis- 
play-" 

Answers to applications for orders : 

« I shall be glad to have your best terms of 
business stated, so that I may see whether you 
can offer any advantages I do not at present pos- 
sess, that^ might induce me to place some orders 

""''^I wii' to know before I call whether you are 
prepared to meet me on the above stated terms. 



HIS BUSINESS CHARACTERISTICS, CONTINUED. 199 

They are what I can obtain to the amount of my 
requirements ; it would be folly for me to give more." 

" To Messrs. . 

" As my object in coming to England was to 
improve my business arrangements, and place them 
on a footing that could not be disturbed by com- 
peting parties, I have, of course, had my attention 

drawn to the commission charged by you on 's 

iron, and before addressing you on that subject, 
resolved privately, and without alluding to my 
arrangement with you, to inquire from two influen- 
tial houses in London the commission they would 
charge for exactly similar business. One house 
asked five per cent., the other four, the latter house 
having also the advantage of being better known. 
You will please bear in mind that these ofFers are 
spontaneous. I have not screwed them down one 
penny, and I am so well known to both that they 
are content to give me three months' credit in the 
colony without the slightest security. 

" I must, of course, go to the cheapest market, 
but am quite willing to give you the preference, 
provided you are as cheap as others. I leave the 
matter for your consideration and reply." 

Mr. Powell's promptitude was one very main 
element in his success. By getting his orders 
placed first, he gained more than a month's start in 
the Melbourne market. Whatever his hand or his 
brain found to do he did with his might. 

" It will be two months before those I first or- 
dered are ready. I coaxed out of seventy 



200 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



dozen he had ready, which will come at once, and 
come in nicely for summer orders." 

" I placed the order for the Yieille Montagno 
zinc immediately on the arrival of the mail. It 
rose twenty shillings per ton the next week. 

"The greatest force of steam has been put on 
with your orders, per ' Simla.' You are aware that 

required live or six months to get out au 

order for nails. I adopted a move worthy of . 

Expecting an order, I sent to a week before 

the * Simla' came, and placed an order for five hun- 
dred kegs. By this means I got placed on the 
books before twenty orders that came by post. I 

then wrote to to go to the agent in London, who 

keeps a stock for his London customers, and buy all 
the sizes he had in stock, of the sort we wanted. 
He managed to secure about twenty tons. As they 
are scarce in Melbourne, I should think you will 
Bell them without difficulty. Remit me well, so as 
to keep me independent." 

« You will find that goods come rapidly forward 
since I have been in England. I have quite stirred 

up. He was half asleep, and thought nothing 

of letting a month or so elapse before he put an 
order in hand. I have taught him that a week's 
delay is dangerous. I think he is now quite alive. 
I shall make them all ship in good vessels. The 
difference of ten shillings per ton is nothing com- 
pared with the advantage gained by speed." 

JHot slothful in hu^.ness, fervent in spirit, ser- 
ving the Lord,— I can give no truer description of 
Mr. Powell's business habits than that which is sup- 



' HIS BUSINESS CHAEACTEEISTICS, CONTINtTED. 201 

plied by Yalpy's comment on this text: "Minime 
ignavi — i,e,, Non cunctantes, sed prompti, ne tardi- 
tate nostra pereat opportunitas. Ferventes sjpiritu 
— i.e., Summo animi ardore ad exsequendum ea quae 
officii vestri sunt. Domino servientes — Omnia qui- 
dem officia complectitur, at hie non docet Paulus 
quid sit agendum, sed quomodo, nempe ex animo, 
sincere, aperte, candide, tanquam Domino Jesu 
Christo, qui omnia videt, qui renes et corda scru- 
tatur, servientes." 

Which, for those who prefer plain English to the 
best nineteenth-century Latin, may be thus ren- 
dered : ^'N'ot in the least slow, i.e., not faltering or 
fumbling, but prompt, lest the chance should slip 
away through our own unreadiness. With energy 
at hailing point — i.e., with the highest ardor of soul 
towards the thorough completion of all the details 
of your duty. Serving the Lord — This certainly 
embraces the whole of business ; yet here Paul is 
not teaching what is to be done, but how, namely, 
from the very soul, frankly, openly, handsomely, 
even as befits those who are in the service of the 
Lord Jesus Christ, Who sees all things and scrutin- 
izes the reins and the heart." 

What Cicero says with regard to the orator is 
scarcely less true of the merchant — There is no hind 
of knowledge which may not, at some time or other, 
he more or less useful to him. Mr. Powell brought 
a high general intelligence, and the results of assid- 
uous self-culture, to bear on the details of his trade ; 
and was, consequently, very happy in his commer- 
cial forecasts. He was sagacious in estimating the 
9* 






202 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



effect of events upon the market. This is apparent 
in his business correspondence : e.g.^— 

« September 4th, 1857.— Gunpowder is likely to 
rise, in consequence of the war in India. Great 
part of our saltpetre comes from that country, and 
the war has cut off most of the supplies. I there- 
fore placed an order for five hundred quarter bar- 
rels, in anticipation of your order. By this I saved 
two shillings and threepence a keg. It rose the very 
next day nine shillings the lumdred weight." 

« I am glad you have adhered to sending me bank- 
drafts. Victoria being a new country, and its suc- 
cess depending on good government, English people 
are very difficult to persuade that the investment m 
Victoria debentures is good. You will have to 
watch the effect of the news of this mail. I do not 
think that matters are particularly healthy m Victo- 
ria I fear there is a good deal of speculation in 
land going on, and this, of course, absorbs much 
money otherwise engaged in commerce." 

Business, as he went about it, was a fine, intellec- 
tual exercise, as well as a strict moral and spiritual 
discipline. He made a perfect war-map of the de- 
partment of commerce in which he was engaged ; 
and knew the ins and outs of it as well as the Prus- 
sian army knew the cross-roads in the neighborhood 
of Paris. He acquired the " Open Sesame to all 
the labyrinths of business. He studied manufactur- 
ers, agents, merchants. With him business was not 
only a system, but a science. This, of course, was 
not accomplished without great expenditure of time 
and brain-power. He writes, during his second visit 



niS BUSINESS CHARACTERISTICS, CONTINUED. 203 

to England : " I wish to get the business into a first- 
rate position. Tliis cannot be done under twelve 
months' stay in England. I shall, of course, come 
sooner, if you think it desirable. Be plain with me 
on this point. My coming to England has not been 
altogether fruitless. I have already saved more 
than $8,000 a year." 

" My chief business here is to look out for any- 
thing that is likely to be of service." 

" I wish you to give me, in a brief, business-like 
manner, all your views that will tend to settle the 
question, that I may get any papers prepared that 
may be required, should there be a change. Be rea- 
sonable in your views, and it will facilitate mattei's." 

His letters to his managers put them in possession 
of his own broad, general ideas ; e.g.^ — 

" September 24th, 1860. — No one can tell how 
Continental affairs will go next year. Should Gari- 
baldi aim at Venice, there will be a pretty general 
Continental scrimmage. England, I am glad to say, 
is actively preparing in every way for defence — 
building ships of war and fortifications, as well as 
training men — and, I have no doubt, will be ready, 
should the trial come, which may come amidst the 
universal ferment. The efficiency she is gaining by 
the constant training of so many thousands of rifle- 
men gives great confidence and stability to every 
pursuit, especially commerce, which heretofore has 
been constantly taking alarm at the slightest move- 
ment of France. I hope the rifle corps in Victoria 
will become as permanent an institution there as it 
is likely to become here." 



204 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS BUSINESS CHAEACTEEIS'nCS, CONTINUED. 205 



"I hope Queensland will turn her attention to 
cotton, if on ever such a small scale. The govern- 
ment should try a model cotton farm, with coolie 
labor, and see if it would answer. The coolies 
would be a better breed than the Chinese to intro- 
duce. The cotton shown in the Exhibition from 
Queensland is beautiful, and valued at eighty-eight 
cents 1 Supposing in ordinary times it is worth 
only half that amount, one would think it would 
pay well at that. 

" Victoria at last makes a most creditable show in 
the Exhibition ; the goods, through arriving late, are 
scattered about, but still the effect is good, and her 
position secure." 

" July 20th, 1866.— On the whole, the prices of 
manufactured goods will never be much lower than 
they are, as wages hay e j}e7'ma7ieritlf/ SidvsiUiied, and 
since the gold discoveries, prices, though fluctuating, 
have risen steadily. In nearly every instance in 
which workmen have struck for wages they have 
gained the day. Five dollars will hardly go as far 
now as three dollars would before the gold dis- 
coveries." 

" I shall from time to time make many remarks 
upon good makers, and hope you will cull from my 
letters all that is valuable upon this subject, and 
have it copied into a book, the observations placed 
opposite each article they refer to, as the informa- 
tion is being obtained at great cost and trouble, and 
I hope will be of value for many years." 

**Our harvest is not likely to be a good one; 
unless we have drier weather in August large quan- 



tities of produce will be destroyed. Tliis will, how- 
ever, benefit the Australian farmer, as we shall per- 
haps require the surplus grain of America, and you 
will be saved to that extent from Californian ship- 
ments." 

" I do not think your present Government will 
last a month. I am afraid their appointment will 
not have a good effect on Victorian debentures, es- 
pecially when more are issued. Italy is not likely 
to light this year; she will wait until she grows 
stronger. We shall soon know what is about to be 
done in America, as the new President takes the 
reins on the 4th of March, and is known to be a de- 
termined man." 

" What Victoria most wants now is rest from poli- 
tics, and that some intelligent ministry should liold 
office for at least three years. Anything is better 
than mob government." 

" There is every reason to believe we shall have 
peace, in which case there will be a reaction up- 
wards ; but should the war go on, it will stimulate 
many manufacturers in England, since Germany 
made large quantities of goods for the Yankee 
market, which will in that case be made in Eng- 
land." 

" I think that Yankee goods will go up instead of 
down in your market. If the dreadful panic here 
should spread to New York, goods may somewhat 
decline there ; but high wages are being paid in 
America, and that frequently keeps up prices in 
spite of commercial depression." 

"If the government of Victoria knew how to 



206 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS BUSINESS CHAEACTERISTICS, CONTINUED. 207 



turn events to profit, they would try to direct tha 
tide of emigration just now turned from America 
to their own shores. All the Australian colonies 
should awake and make this terrible war their flood- 
tide of fortune." 

" No one knows when the war on the Continent 
may begin, and if begun, when it may end ; the re- 
sult of suspense to commerce is almost as bad as if 
the fight were going on. I hope and pray that God 
in His infinite mercy may spare us the punishment 
of a war of such tremendous magnitude as that 
which is threatening." 

" I hope the dissolution of your Parliament will 
result in a strong and respectable government that 
may last two or three years. This, with emigra- 
tion; is all you want to make the colony prosperous. 
Since we must be ruled, let our rulers have brains 
and education, at any rate, and if possible, posi- 
tion." 

" I advise you when this reaches you to make up 
a good order for cutlery ; things are flat at Shef- 
field, owing to the American war, and, I think, will 
be as low as they well can be in about four months' 

time." 

" The steady shipments of gold are gradually but 
surely raising the value of everything, especially 
labor, which more materially affects our trade." 

" One great disadvantage of direct shipment from 
manufacturers is that, when trade is brisk, such 
orders are sure not to receive attention till the 
ready-money customers are served ; they will fall 
back upon such orders when things are dull. All 



the manufacturers are aware that we j>ay on de- 
mand, and have a strong motive for executing our 

orders speedily." 

« is now shipping all he can by the Black 

Ball line. The difference is fifteen shillings per 
ton; but, I think, taking into consideration the 
time a London vessel is filling up, the slow passage 
generally made, and the delay in discharging at 
Melbourne, making about two months in favor of a 
Black Ball vessel, we save money by always getting 
first in the market. Ship by good vessels. The 
difference of cost is nothing in comparison with the 
advantage gained by speed." 

" Send by a good clipper-ship, as there is some 
speculation going on there which will probably 

raise the price." 

"You must report what progress makes with 

his shop, at . We must not despise it because 

it is a little place. He may sell cheap for all that." 

" Find out what prices other shops sell at. You 
must not be higher. Kapid sales at light profits 
bring the best return in the end. The larger your 
business the cheaper you can sell, hence the folly of 
your keeping too small a stock. Bear in mind the 
telegraph, if your stock gets small. The results of 
turning stock quickly are quite startling." 

He held that, as a general rule^ it was foolish for 
a shopkeeper to be also a manufacturer. " It works 
best to buy ready made-articles of the workmen. 
If they find you are a steady purchaser, you will 
always be able to buy articles at a fair rate. You 
know then what an article costs you, and instead of 



208 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



having a lot of raw material constantly on hand, you 
will have all your capital invested in your show- 
room and your shop. The largest and most success- 
ful dealers in London do not employ a single maker 
exdudvely. Every week one little maker promises 
them a few of one class of articles, another a few of 
a different description. 

" A good book-keeper is of vital importance, — of 
the^V*^ necessity to a business. Double entry is an 
unerring fault-finder, correcting mistakes which a 
less perfect system would never discover. Without 
it your affairs, in course of time, will assimilate to 

's, who muddled himself and half Melbourne." 

Another business axiom was that retunis and stock 
should be so managed that three hundred and fifty 
thousand dollars capital should be turned over three 
times a year. lie insisted on the immense import- 
ance of turning stock quickly. " The results of a 
quick account are quite startling." 

" The chief point that influences our judgment is 
the rapidity with which an account is turned over 
in proportion to the credit. We expect it to turn 
over once a year at least, while the interest is at 
eight per cent. If you wish the interest to be re- 
duced, the account, of course, must revolve more 
rapidly. The way you must look at an account is, 
Wliat return does a person get for the money he has 
advanced you ? It is by ordering largely and regu- 
larly from one house that we gain influence and ob- 
tain better terms. If we so split up our ordei-s that 
they are no larger tlian those a house gets elsewhere, 
we cannot expect better treatment." 



HIS BUSINESS CHARACTERISTICS, CONTINUED. 209 

" To buy on credit, and wait for remittances, is a 
dear plan. The manufacturers always stick it on, 
and when busy, always serve their cash customers 
first." 

" I wish you would turn your attention to the 
value of wool as a remittance. True, it is a specu- 
lative article, and occasionally you may lose, but I 
find that our customers who remit in wool, on an 
average of years, not only save exchanges, but make 
a profit besides. You would, of coui-se, have to 
employ a shrewd judge of wool, otherwise the bro- 
ker might sell youP 

Mr. Powell deemed it of importance to have not 
only a full-sized show-room, but also some strikingly 
handsome goods ; even of a class for which there 
was no very large demand, as being attractive to 
customers. For, to gratify the general taste for 
beauty in an open, honest manner, available to every 
one in the trade, differs widely in its moral quality 
from the trick of decoying customei^ by acting de- 
ceptively upon their blind eagerness for a wonder- 
fully cheap article. With the same view he would 
have beautiful models of the larger machines dis- 
posed about the show-room. An attractive appear- 
ance in business premises, and in arrangement of 
goods, gives a fair vantage ground in competition. 

To a friend in another line of business : 

" I am determined before T leave England to find 
out the cheapest market for your goods as well as 
for my own. I am going to Stoke, in Staffordshire, 
to see an earthenware manufacturer, who makes 
most beautiful fancy flower-pots. As flowers are 



210 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



getting such a rage at Melbourne, I Bhall select a 
crate for you, as they come to little money, and af- 
ford an enormous profit. Tliey will prove a great 
attraction, and draw fresh customei-s to your ware- 
house." 

" I shall be glad to have all the quotations of the 
prices merchants are getting for our leading goods. 
It will be a guide to me. Let me have as full a re- 
port as possible of the goods you open, whether 
suitable or not, dear or cheap. Give me makers' 
names, and the ship by which you had them. All 
the small miscellaneous information you can cram 
into your letters will be acceptable, but do not let 
me overtax you." 

" To insure against war risk will be no loss, as all 
the leading houses are insuring, and you must all 
advance the prices of your goods." 

" It is better to sell before the railway is opened. 
Anticipation generally exceeds reality, and I am 
convinced it will be so in this instance. But what- 
ever you do be in earnest about it." 



CHAPTER XVI. 

OTHER BUSINESS CHARAOTEEIS'nCS ILLUSTRATED PRU- 
DENCE, CAUTION, WATCHFULNESS, AND SOUND JUDG- 
MENT. 

Prudence in business matters is an essential trait 
of morality and therefore of natural religion. 
There is as much of moral principle as of sound 
common-sense in the declaration of Solomon, " He 
that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it, but 
he that hateth suretyship is sure." Mr. Powell had 
learned prudence in these matters, not only from 
the Scriptures but also from sharp experience. He 
was capable of the very chivalry of friendship. A 
gentleman writes: " He often advanced me very large 
suras, as much as $350,000 at once, with no security 
whatever but my honor." And this, though an ex- 
treme, was by no means a solitar}^ case. He con- 
fesses to a friend : " I have been in great misery, 
wholly owing to my having allowed my various 
correspondents to exceed their cash credits. I am 
now finally resolved to keep them within limits ; for 
if I allot the whole of my capital amongst my 
friends in the colonies, what right have they to ex- 
pect me to run into debt on their account? Yet 
this is the case exactly to the extent that the retail 
cash credits are exceeded." 



212 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



" Why in the world should I be so foolish as to 
fill my mind with cares and troubles, when I might 
live in peace ? My resolution is taken, my corre- 
spondents must keep to their agreements with me, 
or give up their accounts." 

Perhaps the best mode of showing how Mr. 
Powell exemplified the great commercial virtue of 
caution will be to gather from his correspondence 
some of his prudential principles and maxims, as 
well as his advice and incidental observations to his 
friends, by whom he was largely consulted : 

" Your account, though a poor one this year, le 
quite satisfactory, as you are steadily reducing 
stock and expenses, and this, I am persuaded, will 
shortly enable you to send better orders and remit- 
tances." 

"You draw interest on your capital when your 
business is making a loss. Is this wise ? Get your 
book-debts into a narrow compass." 

" To carry on a business by drawing against bills 
of lading at eight and a half per cent., will not pay." 

"Strike off all retail customers who will not 
steadily pay up monthly. Keep strictly to this rule. 
Apply the pruning-knife, if you want a liealthy 
business. Our friends in the hardware line remit 
monthly with the regularity of clock-work. Remit- 
ting a regular sum monthly can be no worse for 
either party than remitting large sums occasionally. 
You lose people and custom when they get into your 
debt." 

" Keep the bank credit down." 

"Gradually reduce your discount, etc. Try by 



OTHER BUSINESS CHARACTERISTICS. 



213 



keeping a fourth of your bills back for collection, 
at first, and gradually increasing the number, to 
reach as soon as possible the point where you will 
have no bills under discount, but all for collection." 
He saw that a commercial glut will be succeeded 
by a revulsion, as certainly as one oscillation of the 
pendulum is balanced by another in the opposite 
direction. " Those who play the fine gentleman in 
good times, will have to change their costume in 
bad ones." " I expect you will have great specula- 
tion, now the money-market is easy with you. Keep 
close-hauled. Hard times will follow the easy times. 
Let those commit themselves to the stream who like 
to do so. I have been down quite far enough, and 
have had a good deal of trouble to get back. One 
struggle like 1854 is enough for a lifetime." 

And yet bankers, when money is abundant, will 
sometimes lure on to their confusion and undoing 
ambitious traders, by the offer of most tempting 
advances. " Don't stop for want of money." Then 
when the leaders themselves become alarmed, a 
sudden demand is mercilessly made. In vain the 
victim cries, " Have patience with me." His pros- 
pects and his religious influence fall together. 

But to resume : 

"I have never (since the disasters of 1854) en- 
gaged in any project unconnected with my own 
legitimate business, which, being large and multi- 
farious, requires all the supervision and watchful- 
ness which my managers can bestow upon it in my 
absence." "Although you may think it a simple 
matter to discount a bill for % — ,000, it, in fact, de« 



214 



UFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



OTHEB BUSmESS OHA-KAOTEEISTICS. 



215 



prives me of so much capital, since my arrangement 
with the bank is to have a certain amount of dis- 
count during my absence, an amount only sufficient 
for my own purposes. Why do you not build and 
furnish gradually ? Your profits would soon supply 
you with the balance without extraneous assist- 



ance. 



JJ 



— Store. — I think the profit shown by this 
establishment is more apparent than real, for I look 
with great suspicion at the large stock that has 
accumulated there. You must put the pruning- 
knife vigorously to work. Half the stock would be 
ample, so accessible as the place is now both in 
summer and winter. The montlily returns are 
wretchedly small for such a stock and premises. I 
look anxiously for a speedy reduction." 

His conscientious common-sense kept him clear 
of those seductive illusions which so easily beset 
eager, sanguine natures. Some tradesmen take 
pleasure in beguiling themselves into an exagge- 
rated estimate of their prosperity by calculating 
their stock at figures not much below selling price, 
thus almost leaving out of the account the incalcu- 
lable risks of business and the working expenses of 
the establishment. 

" Stock-taking. — Let nothing but real value appear 
in tlie balance-sheet, under rather than over value ; 
the latter will prove * vanity and vexation of spirit.' 
Hea\^ stocks do not increase sales as clearly as they 
increase expenses. Light stocks, combined with 
light expenses, will win the day. Take stock twice 
a year." 



" Better be understocked and weak-handed than 
have too much of either. The many failures 
amongst the strongest houses here, in the course of 
only three weeks, must instruct us still further to 
contract our liabilities, and keep all snug. So many 
of the knowing oneshB^e been nipped, I think there 
will be a chance for the prudent ones." 

Mr. Powell held that, in the main, the great nat- 
ural law — survival of the fittest — obtained in the 
business world. 

His caution was specially directed against the 
overstraining credit. He was careful not to invest 
capital before it was created. He had a religious 
dread of " inflation." 

" I suspect that now speculators have been fairly 
knocked down, some of them forever, you will see 
a very marked improvement in all goods held in the 
colony." 

" I read that is going to build ; if so, he 

must not owe us much." 

" I do not like sending goods on speculation, as I 
have certain and profitable employment for all my 
capital." 

" Do not, for the sake of sustaining me well with 
remittances, for one moment endanger your home 
position by drawing too close upon your cash credit. 
Leave a margin for bad bills or other contingen- 
cies. 



5J 



" Your shipments are not heavy enough to entitle 
you to take your own risk. I hope that the sad 
losses 3^ou have experienced will prove the richest 
gain. In other words, let them make you doubly 



■MM 



I 



216 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



cautious and attentive, and break you of the terribly 
evil habit, which has cost me thousands of pounds, 
of deciding too quickly. When an important mat- 
ter is pressed upon you, say that you will think it 
carefully over, and give an answer the next day. 
But never let your courage give way ; always * thank 
God and take courage.' " 

It is evident that for his exemplary prudence he 
was largely indebted to the discipline of experience. 

" Live near your business until you have firmly 
established it." 

*' We have only half furnished our house, and do 
not intend furnishing the other half, till things 
mend in Australia." 

" Your not writing places me in an unpleasant 

position, owing to 's having made a shipment 

to you. They came round to me and said that the 
shipment exceeded the amount of the guarantee, 
and they were unwilling to forward the goods unless 
I extended the amount. I consented to do so, on 
condition that the bill of lading was made to order, 

and forwarded to my firm at . I adopted this 

course, because your position was uncertain ; and I 
felt sure you would not wish to involve me beyond 
the heavy amount for which I am already responsi- 
ble. I have requested to give you up the bill 

of lading, on your giving an acceptance at three 
months, with ^ve per cent, added, and satisfying him 
that your position is sound. Let me beg you, for 
your own sake, not to accept the bill unless your 
position is imdoubted. What I have done was at a 
risk without pix)fit, and you will not intentionally 



OTHER BUSINESS CUARACTERISTICS. 



217 



injure me. will keep the matter quite private, 

so that your credit will not be injured in any way. 
But keep up a good heart. Trust in God, and do 
what is right, and you will be helped." 

" I hear that a benefit club is started, and that you 
are one of the trustees. Mind that you are not let 
in by bad management and loose book-keeping. 
The benefit club might * go squash ' some day, and 
the depositors come down upon the trustees. Let 
your partnership-deed in future exempt you from 
such engagements." 

" I was astonished at the action of the banks in 
raising the interest ; but if the blow be aimed at 
over-trading, we may not complain." 

" December 16th, 1857. — All the world has been 
going too fast. Although many of the kites flown 
were strong and handsome, and the strings long and 
stout, the gale has been too severe. Nothing but 
money down is believed in now." 

In his view, a little risk outweighed a great profit. 

"By buying myself, without an agent, I might 
save $20,000 or $25,000 a year, but with risk ; and, 
therefore, I shall not undertake it unless compelled." 

" Now it is believed that America will get over- 
stocked. There a most speculative trade has been 
going on since the war closed. Prices there ai*e 
very high. Exchange has been tumbling down the 
last few weeks, and they will have enough to do to 
avoid a panic in the foreign market. It is well, 
therefore, that you are not ordering largely, and get- 
ting English goods at from ten to thirty-three per 
cent, above their usual price. We may escape a 

10 



218 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



panic ; but we sliall have a reaction in a few months 
without fail. I only hope the good demand for 
wool will continue, as it will help the colonies 
amazingly. But it is a risky thing, never safe till 
sold." 

"May 16th, 1866.— We have experienced one of 
the most wonderful panics ever witnessed in London. 
It was like a hurricane for severity and brevity. On 
the Stock Exchange things had been tending to- 
wards a panic, owing to the general expectation of 
a European war. Matters culminated last week 
through the failure of Overend, Gurney, and Co., 
for twelve millions. The next day people went 
mad, and were only brought to their senses by the 
Buspension of the Bank Charter, by which move- 
ment the Bank of England was able to issue five mil- 
lions of notes extra. This short storm swept down 
several large houses, and during its three days' con- 
tinuance advances could not be obtained on the first 
securities." 

"May 20th, 1866.— If you had seen London last 
week, you would have been amazed at the madness 
that can seize people about money. It would have 
been a life-lesson for you — not to spread your arms 
too wide. One large house was knocked over be- 
cause it could not get an advance upon some of the 
best bills in London. If war break out on the Con- 
tinent, I hardly know what times we shall see. By 
the dread of war, thousands will be ruined ])efore 
the crisis is over." 

" I hope the crisis will have tlio effect of stopping 
speculative shipments tq the cploines, so as to give 



OTHER BUSINESS CHARACTERISTICS. 



219 



all legitimate importers a better chance. No doubt 
the panic here will cause the banks on your side to 
draw in ; so I liope you will keep tight hold of the 
reins, and not have too many local bills. Take 
every advantage of the rising tide, and be found 
with light stocks when it again ebbs." 

" My affairs are in close compass, so that although 
business will be dull for the next two mails— as usual 
in the winter— they will be able to send very fair 
remittances, in consequence of the very moderate 
engagements on the spot." 

" Seize the right time for modifying your business 
with advantage." 

" I have frequently felt that I ought not to be in 
such a position as makes me dependent to so great 
an extent on your life and health, for the guidance 
of my large business in the colony. If you were 
taken away, we should have to depend on others for 
the practical working of the business, and that 
would not suit us ; whereas, if the thing were in a 
moderate and compact compass, I could with judi- 
cious assistance manage it with ease and profit. 
But even for your immediate advantage, it is impor- 
tant that an alteration should take place." 

He saw clearly that valor was sometimes the bet- 
ter part of discretion, and that a retreat often re- 
quires as much courage as an advance, and displays 
as good generalship. 

" I wish you to take the bold step of gradually 

reducing stock at Warehouse No. , by selling at 

prices which will move the goods in large quanti- 
ties, so as to bring it as nearly as possible to a point 



220 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



OTHEK BUSINESS CHARACTERISTICS. 



221 



by the time the lease is out. Furnish and 

with lists of your surplus stock. They doubt- 
less could work off some. I think this branch of 
the business may be very well relinquished. Many 
of the articles, especially the great staples of the 
stock, are so operated in by merchants, and form, at 
all times, such favorite articles of consignment, that 

very little is got out of them. store too must 

be brought to an end." 

" The premises I would be prepared to sell, on 
long credit, and at a moderate figure. The closing 
of these two stores will give you $200,000. The 
immediate advantage will be saving interest on the 
amount, rents of the two premises, wages, etc. You 

should not largely increase stock in the store, 

in face of the approaching completion of the rail- 
way, when carriage will be so much reduced." 

" Let the benefit to accrue from the vigorous use 
of the pruning-knife sustain you. I know it will 
come out all right in the end. But do not fall into 

the error of selling too cheaply in the retail; 's 

get full fifty to seventy-five per cent, net profit^ on 
all they sell. The secret is to have a well-assorted 
stock ; but have your price. Eetail terms in Lon- 
don are much higher than with you, and yet com- 
petition is greater and expenses less." 

" You had better buy small supplies on the spot, 
as wanted, rather than incur the danger of getting 
too heavy a stock. Keep a moderate stock by order- 
ing lightly, and buying a little in the market when 
you run short. But better run out than have a 
heavy stock, paying interest. Your safety and wis- 



dom is in sticking to the retail. In it the profits 
have been chiefly made, and will continue^ to be, 
while the mental relief will be incalculable.'' 

" Spare nothing that will make the retail com- 
plete. Ketail prices can generally be kept up. At 
any rate, in this old London, prices are as high as in 

Melbourne." 

" Begin reduction and retrenchment in good time, 
that you may do it gradually, and not excite public 
attention to the fact. At all events, now take the 
sensible and honest resolve to economize, although 
it gives pain to carry it out." 

" Have nothing that would plague you in times of 
panic. You will look upon business with new eyes 
when it is robbed of its risks, and consequently its 
anxieties. Credit customers insidiously begin with 
buying hundreds, and end with thousands. When 
an account is opened, ask the parties to what extent 
they wish to go, and keep them to the amount agreed 
upon, which, with their name, should be entered in 
the ledger. Divide your risks as the insurance peo- 
ple do ; 80 that, in case of a failure, you will not be 
much hurt. Your last year's balance-sheet shows 
that a business one half the extent of that which you 
are doing, conducted with strict economy, would 
have paid well, while the unwieldly business with 
heavy expenses leaves a loss." 

" I dare not take your order, lest it should injure 

both you and me." 

" Retrenchment was a necessity, a duty, and there- 
fore to be done fearless of consequences. You 
must look at the whole tiling without shrinking. 



|{ '! 



222 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



How every part of the business pays should be 
Bifted with the greatest nicety." 

"You must take off your jacket and go to the 
retail. You ask, * what will the public think of it ? ' 
The public thinks of nothing but its own interest." 

" In order to make business pay, there is nothing 
for it but to have moderate stock and small expen- 



ses. 



"I am master of the position here. My business 
does not occasion much anxiety. I only deal with 
undoubted houses ; and, as we pay all cash for our 
goods, no crisis can seriously affect us." 

"We open no more accounts than our capital will 
warrant, and I shall not deviate from my fixed rule 
of having good evidence of the means of a party be- 
fore I take him up. We always have a statement of 
affairs from each of our correspondents once a year. 
To this you will not object, as I am sure yours are 
satisfactory. There must be mutual confidence in 
trade, and in order to this, mutual candor." 

"Inability to remit with regularity results from 
extending business beyond the competence of your 
capital, or ordering particular goods in quantities 
beyond the requirements of the market. You thus 
bury money in unsalable stock, whilst you load your- 
self with excessive interest. To extricate yourself 
from the penalties of these two erroi-s, you must dis- 
pose of your branch stores, and adjust your orders 
as closely as possible to the state of the market. 
All speculative business must be abandoned at once. 
Your business will, of course, not be so large, but it 
will be more lucrative. With half your past busi- 



OTHEE BUSINESS CIIAEACTEEISTICS. 



223 



ness done safely, you would have been be tcr off 
What is the use of doing a large business that will 
not pay ? Let me urge you once for all, if you desire 
to prosper, resolutely refuse business, unless it is 
safe. Get things well in hand for the storm ; all 
your prudence will be required. Get your business 
into such a form that you can handle it with ease. 
Large stocks have been the bane of most trades m 
Australia. Now you have such rapid communication 
with England, you certainly need not keep so many 

months' supply." 

" The banks here are very cautious, so we have 
the comfort of knowing that there is not much 

inflation." 

" You are wise in resolving not to have a heavy 
stock, but rather a business that can be kept well in 
hand. With sufficient capital at command, and a 
business that can be easily handled, your progress 
will be safer and happier than with an immense 
stock and apparently large profits. Business in 
Australia can only be conducted successfully with 
great economy. More may be made now in the 
colonies by cutting off expenses than by doing an 
immense business." 

" I have requested not to make such large 

shipments in one vessel ; for should the cargo get 
damaged, we should be in a pretty mess with fifteen 
or twenty thousand dollai^' worth of damaged goods 
on which we could not claim." 

To his junior partners : 

" As an incentive to you to proceed with great 



224 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



OTHER BUSINESS OHAKACTEEISTICS. 



225 



vigor in bringing our business into a more compact 
compass, I have resolved to bear all the loss incurred 

in winding up the store and warehouse No. 

, and will consider such loss as so much in re- 

. duction of my capital, as if you had remitted drafts 
for the amount. The tide will be turned before the 
end of the year, and you will be under easy sail. 
1 am not afraid of a temporary loss, when I believe 
that a greater subsequent preponderating gain will 
be the result. Do not let any fear of loss stand in 
the way of rapid realization. This is the only way 
in which you can speedily get the business within 
due bounds. What is left will be quite enough for 
you to manage profitably. You must look this boldly 
in the face. We soon made an end of the timber 
business, when we set about it." 

" I must concentrate my forces before I spread 
them again." 

" You must look out and have only moderate stocks 
in 1863; 'times will be tight.'" 

" Take the bold step of gradually reducing stock." 

To a correspondent : 

" I can readily imagine your anxiety while your 
business grew so rapidly beyond your capital. Whilst 
you were worrying yourself about remittances, I got 
into a fever, because I could not execute your orders 
so quickly as I wished. I think the present time 
needs special caution. Goods are getting very dear 
both here and in America. I think there will be a 
reaction before the end of the year; and, in such a 
case, it would be a pity for you to have your shelves 
filled with dear goodsJ' 



" The longer I live the more I am convinced that a 
compact, economically managed business is the most 
profitable. You are wise in getting your business 
into such a form that you can handle it with ease. 
Large stocks have been the bane of most firms in 
Australia, but now you have such rapid communica- 
tion with England you certainly need not keep so 
many months' supply as formerly. Could you not 
make use of the telegraph wire from Galle when 
goods run scarce ? Surely, it would be to your ad- 
vantage to get nearly a month's start." 

"Our salesmen and porters, do they do a good 
day's work ? Is punctuality the order of the day ? 
Economy must be practised by every man doing his 
work. Is it requisite to keep so large a staff, now 
business is likely to be dull for many months ? " 

" Have your business thoroughly under control, 
by keeping light stocks. Light stocks, with light 
expenses, will win the day." 

" It showed great shallowness on the part of 

to be ready to rush into such a speculation. If he 
do a few more such things, he will get on his back." 

" We open no more accounts than agrees with our 

capital." 

" I am sorry required a renewal. In all such 

cases I stipulate or plead for the reduction of one 
half." 

" I wish to do without letters of credit." 

" I shall only send a few ; for I know the diffi- 
culty of selling with a new name." 

[I860.]—" I do not desire to commence buying 
here on my own account. It is rather dangerous 
10* 



226 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



OTHER BUSINESS CHARACTERISTICS. 



227 



work ; for if a crisis overtake the colony, or a mail 
were to be a month overdue, how could I meet the 
current bills?" 

" I do not think 's system of doing business 

will stand. You may depend upon it they have 
been buying too heavily, and must have suffered to 
a corresponding degree. They give bills to the 
manufacturers at six months, trusting to remittances 
to meet tliem. The bank donH like their paper, and 
when the manufacturers find it won't melt readily, 
they will be chary of taking it, unless they charge 
great prices. Get your business more compact; 
you have only to bide your time." 

"The Bank has a curious directory, and 

offers per cent. I for a sufficient reason— in time 

following the . Another evidence of its weak- 
ness is, that one or two of the trustees are likewise 
directors: as WinkU would say, * Suspicious! 
very ! ' " 

" I have stopped furnishing my house, and shall 
not complete it till times are better." 

" London, G, Broad Street Buildings, 

" October 23<f, 1861. 
" I know you are naturally prudent, and that your 
efforts have been for some time to get things well in 
hand for the storm. I think all your prudence will 
be required in the future, for it is the opinion of 
sagacious men here that Victoria will have to pass 
through a crisis to which all others that have been 
will seem as nothing. It is argued that when you 
have io:pay $2,500,000 interest for your debt, instead 



of receimTig upwards of $5,000,000 per amium by 
the sale of your debentures, when by the railways 
being completed thousands of persons are thrown 
out of employment, then it will require master spir- 
its to get you through the storm. 

« It is thought that a good deal of this pressure 
will come upon you next winter. These surmises 
may not be realized to their full extent ; but you 
must admit there is a good deal of truth in them. 
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. All I can say 
is, keep your accounts well in hand ; watch them 
with increased vigilance ; have no engagements in 
the colonies ; order merely for your wants ; keep 
only a moderate stock. Then you will have an ad- 
vantage over your competitors. For although busi- 
ness in the aggregate should materially decrease, 
yet yours will receive a fresh impetus from there 
being less competition. Some great houses will 
collapse or withdraw with the pressure, as many 
little ones have already." 

Answer to an application to open an account with 
a trader in a new settlement : 

" We are quite willing to open an account with 
you, believing that in time it will be valuable to 
both you and us ; but we are quite averse to com- 
mencing in a large way, such as consigning you a 
ship. It is wiser for you to proceed gradually, 
strengthening your connection among the settlers, 
until you could rely on their support. In the in- 
terim you should send an order, at first for about 
five hundred pounds' worth of goods, and repeat it 



228 



LIFE OF WALTEE POWELL. 



OTHER BUSINESS CHAEACTERISTICS. 



229 




in six months. We could then increase your credit 
as your business advances. 

"Let me know whether you have a bank that 
would discount any bills you might draw on us 
against wool by hypothecating the bill of lading. I 
should like also to have a chart of your port, and, 
in fact, every particular that you can think of, e.gl 
if you have had any vessels direct, or is it usual for 
vessels first to touch at another port? But, our 
fear is, that sending you a ship at once would give 
you a premature start. Eight months' residence 
would hardly give you sufficient influence to load 
a vessel. You had better let the thing grow for a 
year. 

" In the mean time, you might ascertain and send 
us word, by return mail, what quantity of wool will 
be grown in your neigliborliood ; wliether any of 
the settlers would support you if a ship were sent ; 
and to what extent and what advance they requu-e 
on their wool. (The rule is, I believe, if wool is 
worth one shilling and sixpence, to advance one 
shilling.) If you took a tour amongst the settlers, 
you could soon ascertain all that I have written 
about. Many of them probably would be inclined 
to support you if there were a probability of your 
getting a vessel direct. I should advise you to draw 
up two indents— one for us to execute under any 
circumstances, the other in the event of a ship com- 
ing direct to you, as, in the latter case, you would 
order bulky articles for the purpose of influencing a 
consignment. Keep to useful, every-day goods, and 
you cannot be hurt. We buy goods of every descrip- 



tion, and are conversant with the best markets. We 
buy wholly for cash, giving our correspondents all 
the discounts we obtain. You may depend upon 
the interest being moderate, and such as would en- 
able you to compete with your neighbors." 

He saw that push and energy on the one hand, 
and caution and judgment on the other, might be 
thoroughly harmonized. But he never regarded 
himself as having attained perfection in this matter. 
He writes to his manager : " I do not wish you to 
relax your caution, but the satisfaction you manifest 
as to our style of doing business, may, I think, with 
safety be abated. Our business is not a model bus- 
iness. Although presenting some good features, it 
is capable of great expansion witli push and energy. 
There is danger in being too satisfied with things 
as they are. When this is the case, little progress 
can be made. Do not fall into the error of think- 
ing that our business is perfect." 




CHAPTER XYII. 

BUSIIO:SS CHARACTERISTICS, CONTINUED. — FRUGALITY, 
FAIRNESS, CONTENTMENT, AND MODERATION. 

Mr. Powell acted on the principle that an un- 
selfish frugality is noble. Before marriage, notwith- 
standing the smallness of his income, and his sys- 
tematic liberality, he had saved enough money to 
purchase the house in which he lived, and to have 
laid by what in his position amounted to a very con- 
siderable sum. The like virtue he insisted on in 
the case of every one in whose prospects he took 
especial interest. For example, he writes to a young 
man: "I will add $250 to eveiy $500 you have 
saved by the time you are twenty-eight ; but if you 
do not depend upon yourself, you shall not depend 
upon me. That would destroy all 3'our energy and 
make you worthless." 

Frugality w^as with him a matter of personal 
honor and self-respect as well as of common moral- 
ity. His maxim was, " Whoever exceeds his income 
is a thief." But he resolutely kept within his in- 
come. He confesses, " The feeling of being hard 
up I never could stand." 

For the first three years of married life Mr. and 
Mrs. Powell lived on $750 a year. 

On this subject he writes to a young friend : 

" You must not only keep out of debt, but must 



BUSINESS CHARACTERISTICS, CONTINUED. 231 

resolve to save. Put something by every year, how- 
ever small a sum. You will then find how pleasant 
it is to have something of your own." 

" H the being a volunteer lead you into expenses 
which you cannot afford, you must give up being a 

volunteer." . . 

But his fairness was scrupulous and sensitive. 
He detested what he calls "the abominable cut- 
throat system." He was wont to take the most 
trustworthy and impartial advice within his reach 
as to the fairest mode of adjusting claims, and was 
careful to start with terms which would not need 
future alterations or discussions— a great saving of 
time and friction this. He brought an unsophisti- 
cated conscience as well as a keen intelligence to 
the study of business relations. His was not " the 
rigid right that hardens into wrong ; " e.g., " I will 
not go into the indirect loss the laying out of so 
large an amount has caused me." " As to the dis- 
puted point of commission, I shall yield it in your 
favor— not to your arguments, the force of which I 
cannot recognize, but because trade has been against 
you. But you should not endeavor to evade reason- 
able charges by fallacious arguments." 

" In consideration of your last hard year we will 

reduce the interest." 

" I am very glad you have settled amicably with 

. He was much to blame, but I did not like to 

quarrel with such an old acquaintance." 

" I shall simply put you on the faith of honest 
Christian men to do justice to me in these valuations. 
I do not wish a third party to intervene." 



232 



LIFE OF WALTEE POWELL. 




His tlioiightf Illness and consideration towards his 
employes were beautiful. To his managers : '' I fear 
you have been sadly overworked ; however, I know 
that you have a cheerful spirit and plenty of pluck." 
He laid down this rule, and adhered to it throuirh- 
out: "Make your envphyes comfortable from tlie 
first. It is this tliat gains their affections, and 
devotes them to your service." It is refreshing to 
observe the relations of perfect friendship which 
subsisted between him and the two hif^hlv estimable 
young men who managed his various businesses in 
Victoria, and subsequently became his partners. 
There was a familiarity which did not breed con- 
tempt, which did not destroy or even dilute the due 
respect of subordinates for their principal. Ilis 
voluminous letters to them, dealing with the minut- 
est details of business, are as confidential and cor- 
dial as if they were his brothers, as affectionate and 
regardful as if they were his own sons that served 
him. " I write to both of you, as this makes the 
correspondence more pleasing and definite ; so you 
must read each other's letters, and each reply to his 
own." Nor did he let kind words serve instead of 
kind acts. lie gave them very handsome substan-. 
tial proofs of his appreciation of their ability, fidel- 
ity, and good-will. And he had his reward. To a 
friend : " My business is being managed in first-rate 
style during my absence, and I expect will pay a 
large profit during this year." To his managers: 
" The very full reports you send me enable me very 
accurately to judge of the business. You may be 
sure nothing escapes me." In short, the fine rela- 



BUSINESS CnARACTERISTICS, CONTINUED. 233 

tions between him and those whom he employed 
were highly creditable to both parties. The follow- 
ing letter to a friend casts light upon his own pro- 
cedure. " Do as I have done. Train up one or 
two young men of sound moral and religious prin- 
ciples to your business, give them a small share of 
your profits, and let them know that their prospects 
in life depend upon their good conduct. Let them 
feel the responsibility of the business while you are 
there, so that you do not leave untried men behind 
you. Wliy, I have half a dozen deserving young 

men now in my establishment that I would not 

hesitate at once to take in as partners, provided I 
required them. They all know that I feel an inter- 
est in them, and they feel an interest in me. This 
plan would wonderfully relieve you ; it would take 
off the pressure from yourself, and they would take 
delight in their new powers. If you have no one 

you can trust, let me name two in my firm 

that would serve you admirably. They would be 
diligent, conscientious, and honest as the day ; and 
after two yeare' training would take the entire work 
off your hands, and leave you a free man. You will 
find that the great pleasure of business is, the not 
beiuij a slave to it. Be a master, and have author- 
ity over those that can do all the work." 

To a young man the prospect of making alto- 
gether his own, in a few years, a business which has 
cost an immensity of thought and labor to get to- 
gether, is no light matter. 

For all Mr. Powell's dealings with those in his 
employ, I know no term so applicable as the word 



234 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



11 I' 



i 



Jiandsome. Sentences like the following occur in 

minute and lengthy business letters: "Mrs. 

writes that is growing weak, and his appetite 

failing. Perhaps his present situation is too con- 
fining; could you not place him at ?" Yet 

his gentleness never degenerated into weakness; 

^'9-> " will require kind and patient treatment. 

But if remonstrances fail, there is no alternative but 
to let him go." 

lie would moderate the application to business of 
those whom he saw to be in danger, either from 
temperament, or desire of promotion, of overworking 
themselves in his service. 

His fairness and moderation were universal— to 
his employes^ to manufacturers, to customers, to 
everybody. We have seen that he would insist upon 
every clear claim which his large orders and prompt 
payments gave him on prosperous firms. He knew 
that not only "he that oppresseth the poor to in- 
crease his riches," but also "he that giveth to the 
rich shall surely come to want." (Prov. xxii. 16.) 
To forego trade-rights in favor of money-making 
houses, would have brought upon him this personal 
guilt and providential liability. On this matter he 
was positive and pertinacious. He did not regard 
business transactions with well-to-do gentlemen as 
tlie true sphere for generosity. Hence, some thought 
him hard and unyielding. But all this was only a 
part of his clear-headed conscientiousness. 

" I find intend coolly throwing us over, after 

having availed themselves of our advice. We 
thought we had to wait too long for our remittances, 



BUSINESS CHAKACTEEISTICS, CONTINUED. 235 

and having proposed that they should remit more 
sharply, they are now trying to do without us. We 
have no feeling in the matter, beyond a determina- 
tion to protect our own interests in such cases. In 
fact, we think they have only acted without suffi- 
cient reflection, as they have previously always 
behaved in the most honorable and gentlemanly 

manner. 

^ As to doing business with you to the amount of 
$125,000 per annum, I am unwilling to bind myself 
down to any sum ; but am willing that it should be 
understood, that if in twelve months from the time 
that terms are agreed on, it is the wish of either 
party that business relations between us should 
cease, a notice to that effect shall be sufficient. I 
think also, that since my London agents give me 
credit for the fifteen per cent, allowed upon insur- 
ance, you should do the same. Should you see fit 
to consent to these alterations in your proposed 
terms, please to state the terms (so altered) distinctly 
in your reply, and note that the eight per cent, 
mentioned in your former letter is eight per cent. 

As instances of Mr. Powell's moderation and fair- 
ness, I may give the following extracts from his 
correspondence : 

Answer to an application from a friend to select 
and send out an agent to Australia : 

"As regards any trouble you may give in commis- 
sions of this kind, that I do not think of. I am 
well pleased to do anything that may promote your 
interest or comfort. What I do not like is the 



II 



236 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



BUSINESS CHAEACTERISTICS, CONTINUED. 



237 



I 1 



res^onsihility. If I send out a man who does not 
suit you, it is harder for the man than for you, if I 
take him away from a situation whicli he fills with 
satisfaction to his employers, and where his chance 
of promotion is good. In such a case you are 
annoyed, but he has his prospects in life clouded. 
It is a hard matter for both of you. I am willing, 
however, to proceed, if you are prepared to run all 
risks. Now, as to the young man whose credentials 
I sent you. He is now in a good situation. If I 
engage him, lie intends to get married. Here he at 
once incurs two grave responsibilities; and how 
would he feel, if on arriving he found he did not 
suit? Clever men are as scarce here as in the 
colony. Muffs are to be had in countless thousands. 
There is as brilliant a field for a man of real ability 
here as anvwhere." 

" The requisite qualifications in a good and ready 
salesman are, in addition to a thorough knowledge 
of the business, insight into character, cool temper, 
activity, obligingness, and plenty of tact and push, 
and, above all, high honor and sound religious 
principles, and consequently sol)riety. With such a 
man you will not grudge an extra $250." 

" You must remember it takes some time to 
develop a man's energies in a new position. Men 
are not thrown on their own resources in England 
as in the colony ; there is so much division of labor 
in Enirland, that the administrative faculties are not 
brought out. A g(X)d managing man is consequently 
as highly valued here as in the colony." 

" Your names have been favorably mentioned to 



me, but I thought the fact of your services being so 

largely devoted to would prevent your serving 

a competing house. I am afraid our interests would 
clasli, and should be sorry to be brought into colli- 
sion with a firm I so highly respect." 

"Your orders are put in hand with the greatest 
celerity ; but order no more than you want. I had 
rather your account paid me badly than that you 
should fill up your shelves with dear stock." 

" I am desirous that you should be cognizant of 
every penny we make out of your account. 

"You are aware that when you opened your 
account I was to charge you five per cent, on all the 
goods you ordered. I have not done so up to the 
present, as the goods have come to a bad market. 

"I am unwilling that I should guarantee the 

account, whilst have all the profit. I do not 

wish to deprive them of any business, but I think 
my view of the case a fair one." 

Mr. Powell never attempted to injure a com- 
petitor, though he did strive to distance all in efli- 
cient service of the public. He writes : " Fiery little 

is disposed to lose a few hundreds, all for the 

honor and glory of driving 's article out of the 

field. I shall not make a peimy difference." 

One of Mr. Powell's finest and rarest business 
qualities, when viewed in connection with his energy 
and astuteness, was his moderation in the pursuit of 
wealth. He was as little depressed by a break in 
the continuity of his success as over-elated by a long 
run of prospei-ity. 

In reply to the intelligence of an unfavorable 



238 



LIFE OF WALTEE POWELL. 



'%m 




Btock-taking he writes : " After I saw the amount 
of the expenses cliargeable to the business, I judged 
they would exceed the very low profits you have 
been compelled to accept. It is of no use to be 
downhearted, or to attribute the result to causes 
not clearly apparent; enough has been shown to 
prove where the real evil exists. You must attack 
the evil with courage and patience. To place the 
business on such a basis as will require no further 
alteration is worth all the energy and ability you 
can throw into the fight." He then writes to the 
Eev. D. J. Draper : " As I have no profits out of 
which to give, I must see what I can afford, not- 
withstanding my losses." 

To another correspondent : 

" $2,500 a year with peace is better than $50,000 
with care. I want to keep body and soul clear of 
care, that I may the better prepare for my eternal 

home." 

Mr. Poweirs moderation was, humanly speaking, 
his mercantile salvation. The times when pros- 
perity began to fiow in upon him were abnormal 
and seductive. The immediate demand was im- 
mense, the profits of trade were proportionately 
large. His distance from liis base, so to speak, seri- 
ously endangered his position. Before an order up- 
on firms in England, no larger than the then present 
and pressing public wants would justify, or even 
necessitate, could be executed at Melbourne, the de- 
mand might suddenly contract, so as to throw upon 
his hands a huge shipment of unsalable goods. 



BUSINESS CHAKACTEEISTICS, CONTINUED. 239 

Several of his compeers and competitors were thus 
sacrificed to sudden success. 

Another branch of Mr. Powell's wise moderation 
was his contenting himself with his own proper busi- 
ness, and never dabbling in what he did not under- 
stand, or committing himself to any of those costly 
and precarious undertakings which ruin ten fami- 
lies to enrich one. He thus secured for himself the 
full advantage of experience. Many a clever and 
honest-hearted man has jpierced himself through 
with many sorrows, by distracting his attention and 
dissipating his energies. Security should be the 
paramount consideration with a Christian in the in- 
vestment of his money ; to this, largeness of return 
should be distinctly secondary. 

Mr. Powell denounced all risky speculations on 
the part of his friends with stern fidelity and cutting 
conciseness ; e.g. — 

*' You thought you knew a ready way to get rich, 
and launched into the destructive sea of specula- 
tion. How could I trust or respect one who gam- 
bles, staking his all : dissatisfied with the slow but 
sure way of succeeding ? ' He that maheth Jiaste to 
he rich shall not he innocent? The greatest mercy 
that God has shown you is that He has taken from 
you the means of gambling, or you might, had you 
succeeded, have been a gambler all your days. The 
money that is best earned will do you most good. If 
you are dissatisfied with such rewards as God gives 
to the patiently industrious, and are seeking some 
rapid mode of acquiring wealth, you must take the 
consequence — probably disgrace and poverty. You 



240 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



BUSINESS CnAKACTEEISTICS, CONTINUED. 241 




have nothing left now hut to repent. You cannot 
serve God and Mammon : you cannot, without hlas- 
phemous falsehood, call yourself a Christian, if 
you conduct business on the principles of heathen- 
ism." 

To another friend : 

"Extending your business too rapidly occasions 
you all this trouble, anxiety, harass, and annoyance. 
It redoubles your work, and after all issues rather 
in loss than profit. What can be the use of business 
of this kind ? It allows no time for reading or rec- 
reation, and sets up and keeps up a restless excite- 
ment, that weai-s out body and mind before the time. 
Let me urge you to reflect and act reasonably. Do 
not lose your courage or your cheerfulness. Put 
your whole trust in God, and ask for the assistance 
of His Spirit through Christ ; but resolve, at the 
same time, to bring your business within the limits 
of your capital." 

Mr. Powell believed and acted on the belief that 
— leaving out of view cases of very exceptional 
calamity — the laws of success in business are as fixed 
and reliable as any other laws. He records his de- 
liberate conviction that, "No man can conduct a 
business well,, without succeeding in the long run." 

His success was in the face of strong competition. 
He writes in 1857: 

" There are now twenty-two ironmongei-s in Mel- 
bourne, but although the number has greatly in- 
creased this year, my business not only keeps up, 
but shows at the end of the half year nearly $7,500 
more than at the same period last . This is 



something to say in the face of 



— , who are im- 
porting at the rate of $50,000 to §60,000 a month. 

To know when to retire from business, and how 
to retire, requires great judgment. It is as gmve a 
blunder to retreat too soon as to hold on too long ; 
to withdraw too suddenly as to linger too tenaciously. 
Unless warned away from business by declinmg 
health, or drawn by such a love of Christian toil as 
amounts to a "call," it is a serious mistake to retire 
on a bare competence. It is well to retreat from 
business " before we yet discern life's evening star, 
if two main points are secured : first, ample re- 
sources for a rate of giving, proportioned to the style 
of living adopted, and the position occupied ; sec- 
ond, some healthy and useful occupation, which can 
be followed con amove. If the former proviso be 
neglected, the necessarily small contributions of the 
ir^pendent gentleman will tend to lower the stand- 
ard of giving in his church and neighborhood. If 
the latter be' lost sight of, the misery ensues which 
Cowper has so well depicted : 

"'Tis easy to resign a toilsome place, 
But not to manage leisure with a grace ; 
Absence of occupation is not rest, 
A mind quite vacant is a mind distressed. — 
He proves — 
A life of ease a difficult pursuit." 

As Mr. Powell died in the prime of life, his views 
on this subject can only be gathered from his lettere 
to his friends : 

"Suppose you closed your business, you would 
find that twelve or eighteen months' travelling 
11 





242 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



would give you a surfeit, and you would miss your 
old occupation. But, by training a couple of young 
men thoroughly, which could be done in eighteen 
months, you would be free to see all Europe and 
America, and then you would return with great zest. 
The yoke having been on your partners for so long 
a period, you could lead a very comfortable life, 
having simply to give oversiglit and advice. Give 
these suggestions careful thought, and get free from 
the notion that held me in chains for many years — 
that I must do everything myself. Gradually place 
the weight on other shoulders. The secret of find- 
ing good partners is training them; and letting 
them have a large share of tlie management, whilst 
you are on the spot. You will then see if they are 
up to the mark ; and if they work well then, they 
will not disappoint you when your back is turned. 
As an additional precaution, when you leave for 
your grand tour, you might give any old and tried 
friend a power of attorney, to be used judiciously 
in case of emergency. The knowledge that a third 
party had power to interfere if anything went 
wrong would exercise a salutary restraint." 

" If I were you, I should let the full weight of 
management fall upon your two intended partners 
some months before you leave, that they may get 
trained to the work under your own eye." 

To a friend who consulted him as to the pro- 
priety of retiring from business : 

"You cannot too carefully weigh this question, 
nor too earnestly ask tlie wisdom which cometh from 
above. If you are fully satisfied that under all 



BUSINESS CHAKACTEKISTICS, CONTINUED. 243 

contingencies you have ample means, and are con- 
vinced that you can fill up your leisure life usefully, 
I think you wise in getting rid of your burden." 

To another friend, who proposed a premature 
retirement from business, he gives the following 

advice: 

" In commercial life you have as many opportu- 
nities of doing good as in other spheres ; and we 
are neither of us young enough to serve an appren- 
ticeship to anything else, and yet we cannot be idle. 
1 should strenuously recommend you not to wind 

up your business, but do as I have done, train 

up young men to relieve you gradually." 

"Taking in a thoroughly good partner affords 
incalculable relief. It also prevents the sudden 
and complete break-up of a business in the event of 
death. To take in a partner with power of dismis- 
sal is a duty you owe to your family ; for, if death 
should overtake you, your business would be closed." 

To a friend whose worldly position had been 
lowered by the misconduct of others : 

" I feel ver}^ sorry such misfortune has fallen to 
your lot; but am heartily glad you have had the 
sense to face 3'our difticulties manfully, and hope 
your courage will bring you through. Struggles 
such as you are undergoing are the best cement for 
married life, and will more attach you to each 
other, if you help each other, than if you had lived 
from the commencement to the end in the greatest 
luxury. Now you have commenced tlie business, 
go thoroughly into it. Do not be ashamed of an 
honest business that is supporting you. And make 



244 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



J 



,* 



it honorable by your Christian conduct. Acknowl- 
edge God in all your ways, and lie will direct your 
steps. Be more than ever a man of prayer, and 
your way will open." 

What a noble thing is trade, when conducted by 
a noble man, in a noble way, and for noble ends ! 
What a sphere does it throw open to intelligence, 
energy, and Christian virtue ! What a fine piii-suit 
is commerce — business — money-making in the hands 
of a sensible, conscientious, and believing man! 
How contemptibly inert are the flutterings of 
fashion, the forced and feeble excitements of pleas- 
ure-seeking, compared with the brisk, resolute, pa- 
tient, wakeful activity of a thorough business man ! 
Such a man was he whose characteristics I have 
sketched. The sedulous boy-clerk, in high-toned 
health, abandoning his forest freedom, and chained 
by a generous purpose to his desk, in a dim and 
dingy office ; the ailing young man, with shattered 
constitution and small salary, devoting himself 
steadily to his master's interest, slaving, saving, 
" hoping all things, enduring all things ; " the young 
husband, resolved to make one bold, but well-con- 
sidered effort for the indei)endence and comfort of 
his wife and children, giving up his situation, sell- 
ing his house, spending all his savings, to secure 
wiiat he saw was his only chance of ultimate suc- 
cess — a connection with some first-class firm at the 
other side of the globe; the single-handed store- 
keeper in a crude township, straining all liis ener- 
gies day after day to support those who were de- 
pendent upon him, achieving " social success in his 



BUSINESS CnAEACTERISTICS, CONTINUED. 245 

shirt-sleeves," till inundated with an unimaginable 
influx of custom through the rush to the gold-fields; 
the large importer, selecting and training and at- 
tacliing to his interest and his personal character 
agents to whom he could quietly confide his busi- 
ness for a year and a half, whilst lie was making 
himself master of the art and mystery of British 
trading, and visiting America with the view of 
establishing safe and profitable relations with some 
honorable house in its great commercial centres; 
the London merchant, the city man, the principal 
of a large mercantile establishment, conducting its 
wide-spread and multifarious details vigorously, 
honorably, and successfully, yet, with head and 
heart above the world, living in the region of un- 
seen and eternal realities, putting the interests of 
Christ's kingdom in the forefront of his commercial 
calculations, not waiting till he had made his for- 
tune, but giving thousands of pounds, year by year, 
in quiet alms-deeds, and to bold evangelistic and 
educational enterprises, sedulously cultivating his 
mental powers, fitting himself for service in the 
Church and in the secular society, accepting Church 
cares, and discharging Church duties, keenly in- 
terested in all human affairs, yet proving that " to 
be spiritually-minded is life and peace." Surely 
such a man vindicates the nobility and sanctity of 
trade I 




HIS CONSECRATION OF HIS WEALTH. 



247 






CHAPTER XYIIL 

HIS CONSECRATION OF HIS WEALTH TO CHRISTIAN 

BENEVOLENCE. 

The man wlio dedicates to God that which he has 
obtained by covetous practices, by double dealing, 
untruthfulness, trickery, bad bargaining, a cruel use 
of capital, gambling and God-tempting specula- 
tion, or an eager pursuit of wealth to the neglect of 
spiritual, mental, and bodily health, is offering God 
the reward of iniquity, tlie wages of unrighteous- 
ness, or casting into the Lord's treasury the price of 
blood. The Popish princes, who founded abbeys 
and endowed churches with the acquisitions of ra- 
pine and of murder, were but endeavoring to make 
God an accomplice, or accessory after the fact, to 
the violation of His own holiest laws— and how 
much better is the Protestant merchant or banker, 
who builds churches or chapels, founds and endows 
colleges and seminaries, or hands over to e\'angeli- 
cal enterprises sums acquired by unchristian prac- 
tices. In order to the hallowing of trade, two 
things at least are indispensable : 

1. That the pui-suit of property be entirely subor- 
dinate and subservient to the pursuit of piety, and 
that all our commercial virtues flow out of spiritual- 
mindedness, and a regard to the will of God. 



2. That in the acquisition of property, absolute 
truthfulness and unfaltering fairness and modera- 
tion be religiously maintained. 

Both these conditions Mr. Powell had fulfilled, 
and could tlierefore rightfully dedicate his substance 

to the Lord. 

Immediately upon his conversion, he felt it to be 
his duty to take upon himself Jacob's vow—" Of all 
that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth 
unto Thee." This resolution was strengthened 
shortly afterwards by reading Dr. Harris's " Mam- 
mon." He strictly adhered year after year to pro- 
portionate giving through all fluctuations of his for- 
tune. But the tenth was not the maximum of his 
yearly contributions to religious and charitable ob- 
jects ; it was the minimum. It was not the limit 
beyond which, but below wJiich, he would not go. 
His systematic giving did not check his spontane- 
ous generosity. He did not make the freest and 
noblest of the graces — charity — a mere matter of 
the book of arithmetic. AYe have seen him, when 
but a clerk with five hundred a year, with " frank- 
hearted thrif tlessness " give §50 to meet the diflicul- 
ties of one poor man. The tenth was not in his 
case hush-money to conscience, or quit-rent to God — 
a discharge in full of all obligations to the great 
cause of religion and humanity. Nor was it a kind 
of insurance-payment to Providence. But he found 
this principle — the tenth, to hegin with, is sacred to 
religion and jphilanthrojnj — very helpful towards a 
wise adjustment of the concurrent claims of busi- 
ness, culture, home-comfort and the amenities of 



248 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



niS CONSECRATION OF HIS WEALTH. 



249 



',i 



social life. lie found it necessary in his position, 
and with his reputation for liberality, and his rela- 
tions to Christian enterprise — metropolitan, connec- 
tional, and antipodal — to extend to his beneficence 
the like regularity and exactness which presided 
over his commercial affairs. 

The followino: extract from a letter to a friend in 
Melbourne explains his principle in his own words ; 

" London, March 2Ut, 1866. 
" I have for years adopted a systematic plan of 
giving. It is better to give on a recognized plan 
than by fitful impulse. In the latter way you 
neither give so much nor so well. But setting aside 
in your ledger a tithe of all your gains as God's 
portion, you can periodically, and as a faithful 
steward, decide how that portion shall be distrib- 
uted." 

But his liberality was none the less spontaneous 
because it was systematic. His generosity, though 
like all his other virtues, an offslioot of his fidelity 
to God, and restrained and regulated by the sense 
of responsibility, was not rigid or geometrically 
ruled, but graceful and luxuriant as a branch that 
runs over tlie wall. Side by side with his munifi- 
cence to great Church undertakings there flourished 
much private generosity. We have already noticed 
a very characteristic instance of what might be re- 
garded as an almost eccentric liberality in one so 
conscientious and so calculating even in his givings, 
and so committed to great Church schemes — his 



anonymous donation of $1,250 to Mr. Ilargreaves, 
the discoverer of the Australian gold-fields. This 
WVLQ accompanied by a graceful letter representing 
the donation as a scant offering of simple justice. 
The reply of Mr. Hargreaves to his unknown ad- 
mirer, through the same channel, was equally taste- 
ful and honorable. It was Mr. Powell's very con- 
scientiousness, his sense of fairness, that prompted 
an act, which, had it been imitated by all who de- 
rived benefit, directly, or, like Mr. Powell, indirect- 
ly, from the gold discoveries, would have made the 
discoverer a millionnaire. It brought into play a 
principle, which, if universally acted upon, would 
redeem the world from the disgrace and guilt of 
neglecting its greatest benefactors. 

When he saw a worthy tradesman " under the 
weather," he would nobly "come to the rescue," 
and both man and steer the commercial life-boat by 
heading a private list of subscriptions. 

Another fine and exemplary instance of Mr. 
Powell's conscientious liberality was his persistent 
endeavors to raise the stipends of Christ's ministers 
to a point which would enable them to live com- 
fortably and respectably, without pinching, and free 
from anxieties which tend to distract the mind from 
the great work of saving souls. Protestants, who 
cannot insist on the celibacy of the clergy, are 
bound to put pastors and their families into a posi- 
tion of comfort. 

The sustentation of the ministers of Christ on 
such a scale of liberality as shall place them in a 
position of frugal competence — not of luxury, but 
11* 






250 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS CONSECKAllON OF HIS WEAETH. 



251 







of plenty, not of ostentation, but of sccmlincss— is 

X^ •/ ' ill* 

represented in prophecy as one main result and di- 
rection of Christianized commerce : " Her merchan- 
dise and her hire shall be holiness unto the Lord : 
it shall not be treasured nor laid up ; for her mer- 
chandise shall be for them that dwell before the 
Lord, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing." 

Our friend paid the difference between the rent 
of a small and ill-situated cottage and that of ^ a 
good-sized bouse in a pleasant locality for the min- 
ister by whose instrumentality he had been brought 
to the vital knowledge of the truth. 

He thus expresses his convictions in a letter to a 

friend : 

•* London, August llth^ 1857. 
" I do not think that the AVesleyan Church occu- 
pies nearly so influential a position in England as in 
the Colonies. One great drawback to her progress 
is that many of her ministers have their energies 
damped and their courage broken by the pecuniary 
straits incident to their insufficient allowances. 
Having witnessed the blighting influence which this 
exerts on the cause of God, I shall more strongly 
than ever advocate in the colony that onr ministers 
be fairly salaried, and that such a provision be made 
for their old age as may permit them to look for- 
ward to it without anxiety." 

In a most delicate manner, he would supplement 
the income of ministers who liad little or no private 
property, so as to carry it somewhat beyond the 



point which the Quarterly Meeting thought suf- 
ficient. 

He loved to give some elegant and substantial 
tribute to acts of kindness and consideration in 

others, e.g., — 

" My dear , I have chosen a very pretty pic- 
colo piano for you, of a nice tone and touch, which 
I beg you will accept as a small token of the estima- 
tion I have for the generous kindness you have 

shown to ." 

This was always done in the most graceful man- 
ner : 

" I know how delicate and high-principled you 
are, especially as to money matters, but you must 
not allow that to prevent your accepting what is 
really your 7'ight ; and remember, it comes from an 
old friend." 

One of his guiding axioms was : " Some of our 
good deeds should be performed publicly, for exam- 
ple's sake, but the greater part quietly. The right 
hand should not be always shouting to the left, ' Ho ! 
don't you see, I'm putting up chapels here, there, 
and everywhere.' " 

As might be expected, his generosity sometimes 
drew him into difficulties and perplexities and mani- 
fold awkwardnesses, the extricating himself from 
which brought out finely his idiosyncrasies of adroit 
goodness — the exquisite combination of firmness and 
decision with judiciousness and gentleness. Of all 
this his correspondence affords ample, but unquota- 
ble, evidence. 

The pleasure he felt in parting with money when 



ill I ■ 



252 



. LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS CONSECRATION OF HIS WEALTH. 



253 



his judgment gave him leave was of great service to 
him in liis business, rescuing him from that penny 
wisdom, wliich is proverbially pound folly: e.g.^ 

" Give the mate of the $30, if the mirrors 

arrive y^\\\\f€W breakages." 

" There is some pleasure in paying the P. and O., 
they do their work so well." 

lie had a deep conviction that giving was an es- 
sential part of a religious education. To an Austral- 
ian minister : 

"The Clmrch must not neglect to cultivate the 
hcai-ts of the youth of the colony, so that they may 
have true sympathy with and generous impulses 
toward every agency that will improve mankind. 
Children must be trained to give, or tliey will give 
little when they become men. Giving is waging a 
successful war with the great enemy of the human 
Boul — covetousness." 

A strong instance of Mr. Powell's good sense was 
that he had rather give tlian bequeath. lie had no 
idea of giving with the dead hand {mortmain). 
He held, with Sir Isaac Newton, that " those who 
give nothing till they die never give at all." 

One would fain linger on a subject so pleasant as 
this. In fact there are few aspects of the Church 
in the present day so hopeful as the revived spirit 
and heightened scale of Christian liberality. So 
strongly has the grace of giving grown up amongst 
us, that an attempt is made to systematize it into 
a science. But in determining the ^\\q proportions 
of giving, i\\e principles of Christian liberality must 
not be lost sight of. The beneficence of the Church 



t 



must never become a mere matter of tariff. Christ 
Himself must be the motive, the model, and the 
measure of our giving. Grace itself is generosity, 
— " the very prodigality of heaven ; " but steward- 
ship implies order as well as kindliness, an econom- 
ical and discriminating, as well as a diffusive mu- 
nificence. It was this judicious liberality that gave 
completeness to Mr. Powell's character. Humility 
was its base, an energetic conscientiousness its shaft, 
and a well-poised charity its Corinthian capital. 
When he had but little, he did his diligence to give 
of that little, and ever as his resources grew, to his 
power, yea, and beyond his power, he was willing 
of himself. Whilst his beneficence was systematic 
in degree and direction, its quality was 7iot strained. 
With him giving was not only a principle, but also 
a pleasure and a passion. He gave to indulge the 
God-like propensity and penchant of his renewed 
nature. It was not a duty to which he felt bound 
to work and wind himself up, but a luxury of feel- 
ing which he was bent upon enjoying to the full ex- 
tent which conscience would allow. It was, in fact, 
the only luxury in which he indulged. He was 
" given to " giving. Generosity had obtained a real 
and effective mastery over him, so that he was in- 
cessantly either gratifying his passion, or laying 
plans for its gratification, devising liberal things. 
It was a kind of gracious besetment, whicli had to 
be placed under the strict guardianship of propriety 
and prudence. It required vigorous self-control to 
keep his bounty within bounds. He had a bountiful 
eye. In fact, he was " one of those rare men in 



254 



MFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS CONSECRATION OF HIS WEALTH. 



255 



m 



wliom the desire to relieve distress assumes the form 
of a master-passion." 

He was always trying to stimuLate the less ardent 
benevolence of others, challenging them to a bolder 
strain of benevolence, provoking them to love and 
good works. Like Saint Paul, he wonld not hesi- 
tate to pique tlie well-to-do by contrast with the 
enthusiastic beneficence of the comparatively poor. 
It is a not uncommon complaint of individuals who 
have no need to be under any personal alarm of 
catching the contagion of generosity, that appeal is 
sometimes made to a principle of emulation, a pas- 
sion of rivalry in endeavoring to excite Christian 
people to a large-hearted liberality. Yet is not this 
precisely the point of the ai)ostolic appeal to the 
Corinthians (2 Cor. ix. 1-4) ? It is as if he had said, 
" You commercial and cultivated Corinthians will 
hardly let yourselves be distanced in the glorious 
race of generosity, by the poverty-stricken peasantry 
of Philippi." Emulation in that which is good is a 
healthy and honorable, and may be a hallowed pas- 
sion. It is as salutary in its influence upon individ- 
ual character as it is beneficial in its effects upon 
society at large. 

The subject of this memoir loved to make his 
giving all the more productive by making it, as 
much as possible, provocative of generosity in others. 
He belonged to that liappy and increasing class 
whose epitaph on earth might be, as their record on 
high doubtless is— Tour zeal hath provoked very 
many. It is impossible to estimate the indebtedness 
of Victorian Methodism to the man who, at the be- 



ginning of its history, set before it such a high 
standard and such an inspiring example of well- 
applied beneficence, and did so much towards the 
creation of a just public opinion on the subject of 

Christian liberality. 

Wealth only becomes " the mammon of unright- 
eousness " when it is ill-gotten or ill-applied. Then 
only does Proudhon's dictum, " Property is robbery, 
hold good. Gathered hy serviceable lahor, consecrat- 
ed to Christian objects, merchandise and hire are 
holiness to the Lord. Accumulation has been 
called "the crucible of character." Mr. Powell 

stood the test. 

Nor was it only by direct donation of solid sums 
of money that his generosity indulged itself. Like 
Gains, he was the " host of the whole Church." 
His liberality, though methodical, was not mechani- 
cal ; it was systematic, but not stereotyped. He 
was always brooding over some new scheme of 
benevolence, and asking himself how he might 
give in proportion to the magnitude and urgency of 
the enterprise. Thus he became "rich toward 
God." Despite his feeble health, life was to him a 
continual feast. 

Mr. Powell learnt first to show piety at home. 
His conduct to his less successful relatives was 
nothing less than munificent. He laid it down as a 
principle, " It is not only natural but just that mem- 
bers of ray family should derive benefit from my 
success." Several sudden deaths having occurred 
in his family, many orphan nephews and nieces 
were left unprovided for. These he at once accept 



256 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



ed as his providential wards ; and, for tlic last six- 
teen years of his life, he supported, clothed, and 
educated them. For a succession of 3^eai-s the sums 
he spent on them amounted to nearly §G,000 a year, 
and in his will he left a very eonsideraljle charge 
upon his estate for their advantage. During the 
decade 1S50-1S60, his books show that he had ex- 
pended on the average $8,000 a year on private 
benefactions to individuals. His fidelity and ten- 
derness towards his young relatives were exquisite. 
On the 2Gth of February, he wrote to his little 

nephew N , asking him what he would like to 

be, and giving him a wide range of choii^e, encour- 
aged him to pursue especially tliose studies which he 
had the keenest relish for, and asked him to request 
his master to allow him to pursue any study he had 
a taste for, besides the ordinary course of school 
teaching. Yet with all this fatherly indulgence, he 
exercised the most resolute firmness and discrimina- 
tion. He knew how to give good gifts. lie chal- 
lenged their confidence, and wrote pages at a time 
of fatherly counsel, gently and piquantly correcting 
their juvenile misconceptions. " As to ^ defying 
competition,' I hope you will defy nobody and 
nothinor but sin, and bec>ome ' a star of the fii*st 
mairnitude ' as to truth and virtue, and then, if God 
will, as to wealth." 

Having come into possession of considerable prop- 
erty through the death of a relative (who died in- 
testate), and thinking it probable that had the 
deceased made a will, the property would have been 
bequeathed to more necessitous relations, Mr. 



HIS CONSECRATION OF niS WEALTH. 



257 



Powell devoted the whole to the maintenance and 
education of some young relatives, supplementing 
the amomit bv handsome allowances from his own 
mercantile profits ; and that in such a way as gave 
them the superadded advantage of his commercial 
position and experience. Tiie expenditure of feel- 
in-, the wear and tear of heart and brain voluntarily 
uirdertaken by him on behalf of others, whilst ns 
own business was so severely drawing upon his 
bodily, mental, and spiritual strength, inspires one 
with an admiration, not unmixed with pity, and 
even tinctured with some degree of blame. His 
self-imposed, or rather love-imposed, toils and anx- 
ieties for others told terribly on his health. 

He was, in short, almost a martyr to benevolence, 
being obliged to admit, " The large number of pen- 
sioners I have depending upon me is beginning to 
make me prematurely old." 

And whilst thus mindful of the claims of kin, he 
was to the poor most pitiful and considerate. He 
ever and again sent directions from London for the 
relief of necessitous individuals in Melbourne. " I 

am sorry for poor ^'s accident ; do not let them 

starve." " I give you authority to do anything for 
- that you think right to be done." He was 



wont to bestow on all such cases thought as well as 

money; e.g., " Give a little help to from time 

to time, but judiciously, as is not a good man- 
ager, and must be taken care of." In his diary one 
meets with such records as these : 

" July 22d, 18G5.— Went to Islington (from Bays- 
water) to call on a woman who had come to me for 



258 



LITE OF WALTER POWELL. 




relief; found lier case a deserving one; sick hus- 
band and three small children." 

" August 1st, 1858.— Wrote to Mr. to allow 

Mrs. $5 a week, until she can get a living for 

herself." 

" August 23d, 1859.— Wrote to — 



HIS CONSECKAIION OF HIS WEALTH. 



259 



, promising 

to lend him $150, for six months, without interest." 

'^' September 30th, 1859.— Wrote to Mr. , 

offering to send his two nieces to school next year, 
provided he would assist." 

"December 22d, 1859.— Wrote to Mrs. , 

sending her $25, and telling her that, in future, I 
should allow her $25 dollai*s a month." 

He writes, " I reckon the widow and the father- 
less are as good an investment as a man can make." 

Advising a ladj (who had no claim on him but 
that which rested on a knowledge of her difficulties 
and the admirable character of lier family) that he 
had remitted $400 to a New York firm, to pay her 
passage to Australia, and to furnish necessaries for 
the voyage, he adds the following suggestions: 
" Whether you go by tlie Cape of Good Ilope or by 
Cape Horn, take all the light and all the warm 
clothing you can get together, as you will be sure to 
meet with extremes of heat and cold, whichever 
route yon choose. I should also advise you to take 
a small stock of useful medicines, as these are often 
required at sea, and it is a favor to get them ; also,^ 
a few medical comforts, as port wine, sago, brandy, 
arrowroot, and, if you can meet with it, preserved 
milk in tins. A good supply of gingerbread you 
will find useful for the children, also some biscuits. 



A few candles and matches, some oatmeal, and rice, 
as you will not get vegetables or milk on board. 
These few hints may enable you to escape much suf- 
fering at sea. — London, June 15th, 1857." 

His whole arduous correspondence with his friends 
yields a beautiful manifestation of his '' good and 
honest heart." We have seen that one well compe- 
tent to judge can only account for its laboriousness 
on the ground of his all-pervading conscientious- 
ness. With all his caution and shrewdness there 
was an element of the heroic in his friendship. A 
gentleman testifies : " I know full well that my 
present successful position is in a great measure 
attributable to his energy and judgment, added to 
his generosity and confidence in intrusting me with 
so large a portion of his capital. I do not forget 
that he also saved my life. I got out of my depth 
at the Cataracts before I had learned to swim, and 
was sinking for the third time, when he plunged in 
and brought me safe to shore." The same gentle- 
man also describes the delicacy with which Mr. 
Powell, having the opportunity and the intention of 
purchasing a very lucrative business, on learning 
that his friend liad set his heart upon it, at once re- 
tired from the field. The same gentleman adds: 
" One sentiment pervaded his life and his letters to 
me. I have just been reading one in which he says, 
' Be sure to keep in view the fact that the only thing 
that has substance in it is to get good and do good. 
Let you and me be thankful that it is in our power 
to give, for it has been given to us. It is God that 
giveth thee power to get wealth. He has given us 



I 1 



260 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



the talents which lead to riches, and we shall one 
day give our account as to how tliey have been 
employed. TJiis sliould check our pride in thinking 
of any success with which we liave been favored 
A little reflection will convince us that " it is more 
blessed to give than to receive," since not only is it 
pleasing to God when done with a true motive, but 
it has tlie very best effect upon our own hearts, 
teaching us not to live to ourselves or harden our 
hearts, but to keep soft and sympathetic. ' To do 
good and to distribute forget not : for with such 
sacrifices God is well pleased.'" Thus did he ani- 
mate his friends by word and by example to devo- 
tion and philanthropy. He never felt that he had 
done enough for his friends. He thus apologizes 
for the letters on which they set so much store : 
"So much business correspondence spoils one for 
the descriptive detail which makes a private letter 
interesting. The drudgery of the nmil takes all the 
finer flights of imagination out of a man, and leaves 
the correspondence of friendship to be ' performed ' 
as the undertakei-s do a funeral." Yet he mani- 
fested the utmost leniency and indulgence to the 
epistolary shortcomings of otiiei-s : " You, we hardly 
expect to write, unless you are obliged, as I know it 
is a task to you." 

He loved to encourage others to similar acts of 

generosity ; e.^., " I saw the other day. She 

was in raptures at some kindness you had done for 
her, and showed me some useful articles she had 
been able to procure in consequence— a clock, etc." 

His attention to the interests of his friends was 



HIS CONSECEATION OF HIS WEALTH. 



261 



indefatigable. He is not content with giving Eng- 
lish news to his Australian acquaintances, but 
appends such pregnant postscripts as the following : 

" If you or want any commission executed, I 

will take the greatest pains to get things for you 
good and cheap. Music, furniture, ornaments, 
clothinjr, in short, whatever you state. It may save 
you a few pounds, and would be a pleasure to me. 
Mr. Powell did not hold himself acquitted by giv- 
ing money freely. He felt bound to exercise the 
like discretion in the disbursement of the sums set 
apart for charity to that which he employed in the 
manajrement of his business. We have seen that 
he would undertake a journey across London to 
verify a tale of woe. Like Job, he could say, " I 
was a father to the poor, and the cause that I hneio 
not I searched out^ lie writes with reference to 
some young people whom he was wishful to help : 
" I should only do them harm were I to assist them 

beyond § , for none are so helpless, wretched, 

and dissatisfied as the habitually dependent. I 
therefore, etc. In the event of my death, regard 
this as an Mnstruction to my executors.'" "To 
help many I have been economical with all." " I 
will not give money to support persons in idleness, 
which brings ruin on earth, and involves, if per- 
sisted in, eternal destruction." 

His liberality was as practical and business-like as 
it was unconstrained. He took good care that his 
charity was well laid out. He gave to the needy 
not only money, but also that which was far more 
precious, time, thought, and attention. He was one 



i 



262 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS CONSECRATION OF HIS WEALTH. 



263 



of those to whom tlie King shall say, " I was sick, 
and ye visited Mo." 

He would not allow himself to he imposed upon. 
" I would be the last man to distress you, whilst you 
are doinc^ your best." '' The party who confers a 
benefit has the right to determine the conditions, 
not the one who receives it." 

" I have written a very plain letter, telling him 
that any endeavor on my part to help him will be 
useless, unless he thoroughly forsake his evil habit. 
If he is sober, and in distress, try to give him some 
employment ; but if he drink, to give him money 
will only be destroying him." 

" I will serve you to the utmost of my power, so 
long as you deserve it." 

Yet, it must be confessed that much of his caution 
in charity as well as in business was learned from 
bitter experience. In 1858, after describing how a 
party whom he had lavishly helped, had deliberately 
robbed him of $500, he writes : " Whilst I must not 
close my heart or purse to real objects of charity, I 
confess that I am getting tired of clamorous greedi- 
ness. I think I shall now start afresh, and quite 
put down any whining imposture." 

Another very characteristic excellence of Mr. 
Powell's was carefulness not to hand over to another 
a troublesome case of unhelpable helplessness : e.g. — 

" To break up 's bad associations, the best 

course will perhaps be to send him to : but 

donH give him an introduction to , or even his 

address^ since I do not wish to afflict my friends, as 
they sometimes afflict me." 



« is a thorough begging vagabond. I have 

frequently relieved him. He persuaded a minister 
to give him an introduction to me some months 
ago, and has stuck to me ever since. The last time 
he applied I warned him off. If he cannot support 
himself and family, he must make friends with the 
* Union.' If he come again after you have warned 
him— which he is almost sure to do— threaten him 
with the police." 

Our friend deemed that the conditions of success 
in Church enterprises and in secular business were 
identical. Against burdening a religious enterprise 
with debt, he writes concerning Polynesian mis- 
sions : 

** Melbourne, September 2^th, 1858. 
"To Rev. John Eggleston. 

" You are not obliged to send more men than the 
fund can support, nor are the men, when sent, re- 
quired, either by the Committee or their Great 
Master, to do more work than they are equal to. 
"What is the use of preachers, any more than trades- 
men, trying to do a large business with a small 
capital? That can only end in disaster. Let the 
missionaries do what work they are equal to. If 
they attempt more, they will accomplish so much 
less. I imagine that the island preachers proceed 
much on the same system as their Australian 
brethren, viz., endeavor to take up more ground 
than they can profitably woi-k. I see a preacher 
has been sent to the Samoan Group. Why seek 
this new field, when the old ones are not properly 




264: 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS CONSECRATION OF HIS WEALTH. 



265 



attended to? Admitting tlie imix)rtance of the 
Samoan case, had it not better be left until our re- 
sources, and our staff of missionaries, will enable 
and entitle us to work it ? I see that New Zealand 
absorbs a large amount of our Fund. This ought 
to be carefully looked into. It is a downright 
shame that this station, which ought to be self- 
sustaining, should swallow up the lion's share of 
the funds. The ' John Wesley,' if managed in a 
business-like way, would, I imagine, nearly pay 
her own expenses." 

"Grammar School and Wesley Church:— Be 
very vigilant as regards the Grammar School 
money. See that it is not loaned for Church pur- 
poses, and that Wesley Church repays her debt 
with good interest when the railway is complete. 
Mind you remain one of the treasurers of the fund, 
and, please, in your next give me a statement of its 

present position." 

Answer to application for subscription to new 

chapel in Victoria : 
"My dear Mr. 



" As to your new chapel. In January, d.v., I 
will go closely into my engagements, and send you 
an order for what I can afford. I hope it may be 
$2,500 ; possibly it may not be half that sum, as the 
claims upon me are large in proportion to my 
income ; but I thank God heartily for giving mo 
anything to spare, and any disposition to give. I 
will do what is just and right, in consideration of 
my other engagements." 



"At present I am engaged with a few other 
friends in our Circuit in getting up a chapel m a 
destitute part of London, where ten years ago there 
^vere not five hundred people, but now from twenty- 
five thousand to thirty thousand. They belong 
chiefly to the laboring classes, few of whom attend 
any place of worship. London would appall you 
by its rapid growth and its spiritual destitution. 
Vast exertions are being made by all denomina- 
tions ; but to overtake the annual increase of pop- 
ulation, requires fifty to sixty new places of worship. 
The pressure to give from every quarter is wonder- 
ful. Deputations, collectors, letters, reports, col- 
lections, etc., a man who has anything to give is 
now flooded with, so that a systematic plan is one's 
only relief and safety." 

*' MarcJi 26th, 1866. 
" To Eev. John Eggleston. 

"Chapel debts must become things of the past. 
They are now held in abomination in England, and 
I hope will be in the colony. I have lately been 
interested in getting the means together of raising 
a chapel to seat three hundred, in a poor neighbor- 
hood. I made a good heading to the subscription 
list, on condition that all the money required, 
$8,000, should be promised before the building was 
commenced. This has been accomplished through 
the zeal and activity of our superintendent, the 
Rev. G. Maunder, and we hope to begin next week. 
" I am obliged to all the friends who said such 
kind things of me at the College breakfast, andthank- 
13 



^ -r^ 




266 



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HIS CONSECRATION OF HIS WEALTH. 



267 



i 



fulyou had a good start. The Grammar School will, 
doubtless, do well under good management. Mind 
that the profits, after you get out of debt, are de- 
voted to making the establishment most complete, 
improving the property, collecting a library, and, 
lastly, founding scholai-ships. Kot a penny of the 
profits must be diverted from the College. I am 
glad to learn that you are so heartily engaged in 
the greatest work of all, the work of God, whether 
in erecting chapels and schools, or preaching Christ. 

" I have quite made up my mind never again to 
subscribe to a chapel which will have a debt upon 
it or its accessories. This condition secured, I give 
you authority to pay to the treasurer $2,500, a 
promise binding on my executors in the event of 
my death before the money is paid. Do not pro- 
pose any relaxation of the principle — no debt. 
From the blessings which flow from offering to 
God a house as a free sacrifice, and the curse that 
I have seen upon chapels involved in debt, my mind 
is made up on the subject. The congregation with 
which I worship have erected two buildings in five 
years, for other congregations, at a cost of $40,000, 
free." 

Answer to an application for a loan : 

"July 3d, 1862. — It occasions me much pain not 
to accede to such an application as yours. To grant 
it, however, would place me in precisely your posi- 
tion, that of borrowing — and to that I cannot sub- 
mit. My whole experience is against loans. They 
rarely effect the object designed, in most cases only 
postponing the evij day, and not unfrequently ex- 



citing hard thoughts with reference to the lender, 
and, at the end, leaving the borrower, after a weary 
struggle, in a worse position than when he first took 
the loan. 

"Whatever help I afford you in future, I have 
resolved it shall take the form of gift. 

"It is certainly your duty to try to avert the 
painful sacrifices to which you allude, and I throw 
out the suggestion whether it would not be wiser 
to seek permanent relief from your debts by raising 
the money as gifts among your friends. 

" Carrying out my principle of gift^ not loan^ I 
would promise to make one of fifteen at $50 each, 
so as to raise the ent'ire amount of your liabilities. 
Less than that result I could not recognize. With 
kind regards, yours, etc." 

To a correspondent who had been sneering at the 
dishonesty of some large givers, he quietly replies: 
" The chaff will cling to the wheat, but it is a com- 
fort to know that the bulk of those who subscribe 
to charities are still the salt of the earth." 

But our friend's caution never got the better of 
his compassion, — e. ^., " is a poor, weakly creat- 
ure, and has been in misery ever since. It is true 
that this allowance ($50 a month) may make them 
less inclined to work, but I could not bear to think of 
my own affluence and her penury, and will incline 
to mercy — much as you may preach to me. I have 
warned her that if this is diverted from its proper 
object, the support of herself and child, it will be 
withheld." 



HMM>«<|ll.l.lllllll|||IUPi|.l|UiiOT 



HIS INTELLECTUAL CULTURE. 



269 



CHAPTER XIX. 

HIS CAEEFUL AND LABOEIOUS INTELLECTUAL CULTURE. 

One of Mr. Powell's most marked and exemplary 
peculiarities was his conscientious intellectual cul- 
ture. He evidently regarded the enlarging and en- 
riching of his mind by assiduous and systematic 
study as an essential part of his duty to God and 
man. That his steady pursuit of solid information, 
his indefatigable self -training, was not the mere in- 
dulirence of a taste for intellectual occupation, or a 
desire to shine in society, is plain from the humble 
thoroughness and plodding consecutiveness of his 
life-long self -schooling. " Thou shalt love the Lord 
thy God with all thy heart and with all thy mind.'" 
This, our friend felt to be the first and great com- 
mandment. We have seen that the only schooling 
he received in youth was that which his mother 
could find time to give him, in the mud mansion of 
a pioneer settler, and that even this did not extend 
to his thirteenth birthday, before which period he 
became clerk to an auctioneer in what was then a 
bustling, thriving, colonial seaport. His acquire- 
ments could not have stretched much beyond the 
point of bare competency to keep his masters ac- 
counts with passable correctness. But conversion 
made the young Tasmanian clerk a student. lie 



forthwith developed what Wordsworth calls "a 
strong book-mindedness." This was one main ob- 
ject of his laborious journal-keeping. He lays down 
for himself this standing order : " All suggestions 
struck out in convei-sation, or come upon in reading, 
and all vour own refiections that strike you as wor- 
thy of retention, and likely to be of use, register at 
otwe, as they occur. The rain that is not stored up 
in reservoirs wastes away, till it is absorbed in the 
sand, or lost in the ocean, leaving the ground 
parched and barren ; but if husbanded in tanks, it 
may, by irrigation, fertilize and beautify the land 
with a thousand rills, even in the drought of sum- 
mer; so our good thoughts suggested by Ilim who 
created the mind, unless retained, and turned to 
practical purpose, pass away, and leave us none the 
better. By careful diligent culture our minds will 
bring forth, according to natural capacity—* some 
thirty, some sixty, some an hundred fold,' but in 
every case amply repaying all the cost and hus- 
bandry." No wonder that the man who thus traced 
true thought to its real source should estimate its 
responsibilities. We have seen also that he took 
advantage of the enforced leisure of his first return 
voyage to Australia, for supplying the deficiencies 
of his education, and for general mental enrichment. 
The first use he made of his prosperity, after copi- 
ously contributing to the religious, philanthropic, 
and social interests of the place which was so rapidly 
rising from a village into a capital, and the district 
whicirwas changing from a desert to a province, 
was to "ease oil" from business, confiding it more 



270 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS INTELLECTUAL CULTUEE. 



271 






M 



and more to the excellent young men whom he had 
selected, trained, and trusted; devoting his morn- 
ings to study, his afternoons to business, and his 
evenings to the service of the community and the 
Church. This scheme of study was often baffled, 
but never relinquished. In a letter to a friend he 
thus states the object of his third visit to England 
— "Health, schooling, information." The leisure 
he had contrived to secure from his large business 
had been to a great extent absorbed by Church 
affairs, and philanthropic efforts. On the one hand 
he had found that his resolutely formed plans of 
self-improvement were frustrated by the importu- 
nate claims of a country and a Church laying the 
foundations of their future greatness ; and, on the 
other, he felt that he could not efficiently, and there- 
fore could not conscientiously, accept the posi- 
tion which his imminent wealth would thrust upon 
him without some previous education. His good 
sense and singleness of purpose taught him that he 
must hegin at the heginning ; with the grammar of 
his own tongue. lie saw that to make haste to be 
learned is as foolish and unchristian as to make 
haste to be rich. Being already familiar with Cob- 
bett's "Grammar," he set himself to the study of 
more recent elementary works, and in his foitieth 
year passed through a course of grammar exercises, 
and the school-boy drudgery of " Spelling and Mean- 
ings." His mode of pursuing the latter department 
of sound English education, was " to go carefully 
through a copious dictionary " (M'Culloch's ts'as the 
one selected), " to write out all the words you do not 



understand, with their meanings." He then went 
on to English history ; taking, contemporaneously, 
" the Bible studied with chronological consecutive- 
ness, making an analysis of each book, and ascertain- 
ing the condition of the world at the date of its 
writing, or of the events it records." His next step 
was to familiarize himself with " some of the great 
masters of the English language, making frequent 
extracts, especially from Shakespeare." Then he 
went on to study the principles of arithmetic, being 
already sufficiently versed in the art for all business 
purposes; the elements of geometry, Euclid, and 
algebra. He would never pass on from an earlier 
stage of any acquirement until he was " perfectly at 
home in it." He thus gained, to a remarkable de- 
gree, a gift he most earnestly coveted, " correctness 
and readiness of expression," and confidence that 
" his speaking and writing were in harmony with the 
best English models." He also studied " the Con- 
stitution of Methodism," "The Laws of Health," 
" The Duties of Magistrates," and acquired a fair 
general knowledge of English law. * " All articles 
in the various Encyclopsedias on the subject of edu- 
cation " he eagerly perused. Next he took up the 
o-rammars of the Latin and French languages. Is 
not this, in the main, a striking anticipation of Pro- 
fessor Seeley's scheme for the groundwork of a 
thorough education? He laid down for himself 
helpful rules, such as the following: "Write out 
all Latin and French words and phrases of frequent 

* Stevens's " Commentaries " was his text-book. 



272 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



mS INTELLECTUAL CULTURE. 



273 



HIS' 



qm M 



■I 



» 



occurrence." "Carefully examine your common- 
place book, when about to write or speak on any 
subject." "Inquire into the special objects of 
prayer and the nature of the faith with which we 
ought to approach God through Christ." 

The above is a part of his plan of study, laid 
down in 1860. He maintained the eager pursuit of 
knowledge, without discouragement from the slow- 
ness of his progress and the vastness of tlie field, by 
such considerations as these, appended to his " plan 
of study : " " Superior abilities are acquired by long 
application." " Successful plans of usefulness com- 
mence on a small scale, which can be enlarged as 
experience dictates. Too much attempted at one 
time ends in faihire." " The acquisition of knowl- 
edge will form one delightful occupation in heaven, 
where we shall enjoy an unlimited sphere with ever- 
enlarging powei-s of mind." To secure time for 
these pursuits, he made a point of rising at six 
o'clock, and was very severe upon himself in his 
journal when he overslept tliat point. 

His recreations were the study of music, for which 
he had both taste and talent, and rendering into 
vei*se choice portions of Scripture. 

His high estimate of sound mental culture, as an 
auxiliary to true vital godliness and as a means of 
advancing the kingdom of Christ, was shown by the 
efforts and sacrifices he made for the establishment 
and cfiiciency of the two great educational and lit- 
erary institutions of Victorian Methodism, Wesley 
College, and the Melbourne Book Depot. He 
writes (London, September 25th, 1860), " I am de- 



termined, all well, to keep in view the Grammar 
School and Book Depot, and, if spared to return, 
make them both efficient ; for I am convinced that 
on these two agencies rest the future intelligence 
and strength of Methodism." This conviction, or 
rather passion, manifests itself ever and again in his 
letters, especially to the young. Thus he concludes 
a business letter to his junior clerk (London, July 
17th, 1860) : " As you are, I know, a bit of a stu- 
dent, I may tell you that there are works now pub- 
lished well adapted to direct you in self-culture. 
Dr. Beard's ' Manual' on this subject prescribes the 
regular course to be pursued by private students in 
their leisure moments. If you want this or any other 
books, I should be glad to select them for you." In 
his extensive juvenile correspondence (one of his 
special departments of usefulness) such urgent in- 
centives as the following incessantly recur : " Be sure 
you cultivate a taste for reading ; it will insensibly 
teach you how to think." " Study will find you a 
most delightful employment. ' An idle brain is the 
devil's workshop.' " 

The religious light in which he regarded intel- 
lectual cultivation is strongly shown in the intro- 
duction to his paper on " Self-Development," read 
to the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Society, 
Denbigh Eoad, Bayswater : 

The improvement of the mind is a subject on which the 
greatest men have spoken and written. You may, perhaps, 
wonder then that I should have the rashness to attempt such 
a theme. My boldness, I hope, however, may be excused, 
when I say that my sole object is to help you in carrying out 
12* 



274 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS INTELLECTUAL CULTURE. 



275 



IK" 



I 



your noble resolve to become more intelligent. I bear in 
mind that many of the members of this Society have had but 
few educational advantages, and are desirous of educating 
themselves ; that they want a few simple and practical direc- 
tions how to proceed, as well as warnings with regard to 
some dangers into which they might fall. 

I have had long experience of the path on which you havo 
begun to travel. At the age of twelve, I took a situation, 
knowing, of course, nothing beyond the barest rudiments of 
education ; and, having ever since been engaged in business, 
have had to depend on personal efforts in spare hours for any 
progress in self- culture. 

Many a time have I felt the need of some such suggestions 
as those I now intend giving you. I speak only to those who, 
feeling great need of help, are willing to avail themselves of 
the humblest hints. I am a mere finger-post, pointing to 
othei-s who will teacli you how to make the best use of your 
time, and how to proceed straight to your object. They will 
never weary of your questions. Had I met them earlier in 
life, I should have made much greater progress, and should 
have been saved much misdirected labor, and much irrecover- 

aljle time. 

The thought has often occurred to me — How few Chris- 
tians are well qualified to help the Church ! The want of a 
trained capacity unfits the majority for the places which a 
minister would wish them to fill. The intellect of the greater 
number is left undeveloped, notwithstanding the express 
commandment of our Lord, "Occupy, till I come! " Most 
are content with such knowledge as may enable them to gain 
the places and profits of this world. They undervalue ac- 
quirements which will not yield '' material" advantages, and 
therefore remain profoundly ignorant of the better parts of 
knowledge. I regard this Society as instituted for the jmr- 
pose of making war on your own individual ignorance, and 
developing the talents which God has given you. 

That development is best which is gradual. The animals 
and vegetables longest in attaining maturity are the longest 



lived: the gourd which grew up in a night, perished in a 
night. If your desire for knowledge be so eager as to make 
you impatient of the first steps, it will prevent your acquiring 
any knowledge worth having. The greatest minds have 
climbed the mountain of knowledge by slow, successive steps. 
The members on whom this Society will eventually bestow 
the reward of merit are the steady (mes who have already the 
wisdom not to be in a hurry ; who will thoroughly know A 
before they go on to B ; whose attainments— as far as they 
go-are sound, and fully to be relied on. Successful students 
arc those who did not make feverish haste, but were content 
to learn each day a little well— not disheartened by the smaU 
progress made, if each day they knew that they were wiser and 
l:>ett'cr than the day before. Learning became part of their 
daily duty, and sweetened and lightened all other toil. Their 
minds opened imperceptibly, their faculties grew ; and, at the 
end of a few months, they were astonished at the facility with 
which knowledge was acquired. As the leaves of a flower 
open, one by one, successively, yet simultaneously, so one 
branch of learning led naturally to another ; and thus, in the 
course of years, all their powers received culture and bore 
fruit. Learning in this gradual way, we discover our 
capabilities. We should not, however, neglect to make 
occasional experiments upon ourselves. We should thus find 
that we possess talents, of the existence of which we had no 
suspicion. Since the formation of this Society, have not 
many of you accomplished what previously you scarcely 
deemed possible? The successful attempts of some acted as 
a stimulus to the rest. You were seized with an impulse to 
read, to speak, to write. Never neglect such impulses. The 
powers within you are stmggling to get free, to develop 
themselves by exercise. Be wise, and give them the oppor- 
tunity they crave. Do not repress them by lethargy, or 
strangle them by pride under the guise of modesty. 

Latent talent may be detected by the discernment of others. 
Tliere is a touching preface to J. S. Mill's work on Liberty, 
dedicated to his deceased wife, in which he acknowledges that 



276 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



! ! 



•1 



it is to her discernment of that for which he was specially fit- 
ted which induced him to attempt his great work on Political 
Economy. Last year, when at Spa, in Belgium, I called upon 
a doctor, who, seeing me look at some pretty water-color 
drawings, said, '* Tliose arc from my own pencil. Two years 
ago I knew nothing of the art, but, watching a landscape 
painter, I resolved to try whether I had any talent for draw- 
ing. I set to work with a ^vill, and can now sketch from 
nature, and find it a most delightful occupation." These 
few instances show that we may have great undiscovered re- 
sources. 

Those arc not virtuous students whose object is to shine 
before the more ignorant. Such uicn are always talking of 
being "up to the age" of "progress," and "the marcli of 
intellect," with that self-confidence which ignorance confers. 
To such Thackeray's advice maybe useful: "I would cer- 
tainly wish that you associate with your superiors, rather than 
your inferiors. There is no more dangerous or stupefying 
position for a man in life, than to be a cock of swell society. 
It prevents his ideas growing, and renders him intolerably 
conceited." No! we must love knowledge, because in ac- 
quiring it we arc ob9ying and glorifying God, and may apply 
it to the advantage of our fellow-men. These are the only 
motives becoming intelligent creatures, whose pursuit of 
knowledge, heginning only in this world, will be continued 
through eternity. For some beautiful thoughts on the true 
motives for self-culture, read the opening chapters in Craik'a 
"Pursuit of Knowledge," from which let me quote the fol- 
lowing passage for our encouragement : "Everything that is 
known has been found out by some person or other, without 
the aid of an instructor. There is no species of learning, 
therefore, which even self-education may not overtake, for 
there is none which it has not actually overtaken." 

But what is the order of procedure ? Well, what arc your 
most pressing wants? Begin with supplying them. Tlie 
knowledge required for a successful pursuit of your calling 
has the first claim. A lad resolved to be a carpenter will be 



HIS INTELLECTUAL CULTURE. 



277 



none the worse for obtaining the best work on carpentry, and 
studying it until he is familiar with all his tools and their 
uses; but how foolish would he be to limit his knowledge to 
that one particular ! We can only converse sensibly on what 
we know; therefore our friend the carpenter, if only gifted 
with a thorough knowledge of his trade, Vv^ould be no com- 
panion for an intellectual tailor. A knowledge of the gram- 
mar of one's mother-tongue is the first requisite after a 
knovv'ledge of one's vocation. Some attention to Cobbett's 
most amusing grammar (written by a self-educated man) 
would prevent your playing tricks with the English lan- 
guage. 

Our time in this world is too short to admit of our learning 
many things well ; but we have plenty of time to study some 
thoroughly, and to attain a slight acquaintance with many 
others. At the risk of repeating myself, I urge upon you 
this rule, Whatever you take in hand, begin at th^ foundation : 
whatever you know, hiow well. If you read at random, whether 
on science or history, you will destroy your power of orderly 
thinking. All will be confusion. Happily, experience 
teaches the self-educator that the right and sure way to make 
somid progress is also the most pleasant. Resolve to pursue 
one particular subject. Let that have your chief attention. 
Do something at it every day, but never weary yourself over 
it. Shut the book the moment you find your attention flag- 
ging, but never relinquish the book until you understand it 
from beginning to end. 

But while intent on mastering the one subject, you are not 
to keep to that exclusively. You wish to be familiar with 
the history of your own country. Whilst pursuing that, you 
may acquire a little geography, by referring to a gazetteer 
for the places mentioned, and glance at the contemporaneous 
history of other countries, always making those collateral 
subjects subordinate to your English history. 

You may wish to accumulate facts relating to subjects 
wliich you have not time to enter into thoroughly. This you 
may readily do with the assistance of the admirable little 



278 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



i' 






I 
I 



handbooks published by Chambers, Cassell, and others. Tlicy 
give an outline amply sufficient for the beginner. More 
would only confuse and distract. If you get very interested 
in a subject, and wish to go more thoroughly into it, a larger 
work may then be procured. But the handbook lays the 
foundation, the superstructure will rise almost without effort, 
by subsequent reading, conversation, and reflection. Get the 
catalogues of W. R. Chambers and Cassell ; you will then 
see that a few shillings well laid out will procure you books 
sufficient for many years to come. Chamljers's "Introduction 
to the Sciences " none of you should be without. It is a small 
book, which you may read through in a few houre ; but what 
a field will it open to your view 1 Having mastered these 
handlwoks, you need not be dumb in conversation, since you 
know at least the facts on which a science rests. Professing 
to know no more than you actually do know, people will re- 
spect you, and will gladly add to your stock of information. 
Hugh Miller and Dr. Kitto did not complain of want of time 
or lack of opportunity. I believe that both of them were 
more unfavorably circumstanced in youth than any of you. 
Tlie Doctor hnngered for books, and, while in the workhouse, 
contrived to raise a few shillings to purchase some, and, step 
by step, rose to be one of the firat Biblical scholars of the 

day. 

No obstacles can prevent a man's making daily acquisitions 
who is animated by a love of knowledge. Eyes are given us 
for the purpose of observation. Have you educated them ? 
Houdin, the French conjuror, used to get his audience to ex- 
hibit a numljer of articles at once for a few seconds, and 
upon their withdrawal his son would state their exact num- 
ber and describe them one by one. On collecting the articles, 
it was found that the boy's enumeration and descriptions 
were correct. Houdin trained him to accomplish this feat in 
the streets. Li passing a shop window, they would walk 
slowly and try to outvie each other in recollecting the num- 
ber of articles they had seen, until the lad could, almost at a 
glance, name all the contents of a shop window. Some peo- 



HIS INTEIXECTUAL CtJLTDKE. 



279 



pie's eyes are so uneducated, that they can walk through the 
fields, or upon the seashore, without seeing any object they 
can specially recall. Their walk would have had other re- 
sults had their attention been roused by previous reading in 
botany and natural history. ' ' When you travel, " says John- 
son, "take knowledge with you, if you wish to bring any 
back." "The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all 
them that have pleasure therein.^'' 

Our adult want of obseiTation is rebuked by little children 
who are always making observations and incessantly asking, 
* ' What is that ? " " Wliy is it so ? " Why should we leave 
off our intelligent inquiries, and cause a full-grown brain to 
be more lethargic and less capable every day we live ? St. 
Pierre, whilst residing in Paris, had one day his attention 
drawn to a strawberry plant growing in a pot. For advan- 
tage of light and air, he had placed it near an open window. 
Presently some small winged insects settled upon it, which 
he describes. Some of them shone like gold, others like sil- 
ver or brass ; some were spotted, some striped, others blue, 
green, brown, chequered. Tlie heads of some were round, 
like a turban, others conical. Here seemed to be a tuft 
of black velvet, there a sparkling ruby. He dwells on the 
beauty of their wings, the way in which they were dis- 
posed, and the wonderful mechanism by which they were 
propelled. He watched the plant at intervals, and found that 
in the course of three weeks thirty-seven different species of 
these insects had visited it. He describes the structure of 
their eyes, shows how much more they could see in an object 
than a man with the most powerful microscope. This led 
him to examine his plant with a lens. He found the leaves 
divided into compartments, hedged about with bristles and 
divided by canals. The compartments appeared like large 
verdant inclosures, the bristles seemed to resemble curious 
kinds of vegetables, some forked, others hollowed into tubes, 
from the extremities of which a liquor distilled, whilst the 
canals seemed filled with a brilliant fluid. He then reflects 
on the varieties of the strawberry plant, remarking that we 




t 



280 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



cultivate but twelve kinds, whilst there are several hundred, 
and that the plant is found in almost all climates. I havo 
but glanced at his paper, which is of amazing beauty. He 
concludes witli the observation, that "a complete history of 
the strawberry plant would give ample employment to all the 
naturalists in the world." 

What fear is there, then, of our ever exhausting nature, as 
a source of instruction, if one common plant be such a world 
of wonders ! " O Lord, how manifold are Thy v/orks ! In 
wisdom liast Thou made them all : the earth is full of Thy 
riches ! " Shouhl not such wisdom humble us, revealing to 
us the insignificance of our knowledge ? Should not our 
cheeks flush with shame, when we remember liow puffed up 
wc have been through our profound ignorance ? 

Knowledge makes humble ; ignorance is prond : 
Knowledge speaks lowly ; ignorance is loud. 

Cultivate a sympathy with the brute creation. The more 
you know al)out them, the more you will admire the wisdom 
of the Creator, and will learn to treat them with considera- 
tion and kindness. Their instincts, their reasoning jDOw^ers, 
are marvellous. Captain Hall t^'lls that the snow-huts, so ad- 
mirably adapted to the Arctic regions, are copied by the 
Greenlanders from the seal. He also mentions the cunning 
of the bear, who, when he finds a walrus or a seal, sleeping 
under a cliff, carefully climbs to the summit, and kills hia 
unsuspecting victim, Ijy rolling down great stones. 

All early formed habit, the cultivation of which 
he earnestly recommended to others, was to " store 
the memory with wholesome sayings, and let them 
act as a spur or a check whenever applicable." 



CHAPTER XX. 

SERVICE OF TnE CHURCH. 

We have seen with what humility, self-abnegation, 
and industry, Mr. Powell, from the date of his con- 
version, devoted himself to the lowliest duties of the 
simplest departments of Church work— those of the 
prayer-leader, Sunday-school teacher, and exhorter, 
and how highly he estimated the responsibilities at- 
taching to these offices. We have also seen how 
readily he consecrated his musical talents, vocal and 
instrumental, to the cause of God. As weahh, lei- 
sure, and intelligence increased, he still in the same 
spirit of unobtrusive fidelity dedicated all to Christ. 
We have already touched upon some of the schemes 
of Christian philanthropy on which his heart was 
set; but it is worth while to give a few extracts 
from his correspondence with regard to two of these 
objects — AVesley College, Melbourne, and the Book 
Depot; showing that he devoted mind as well as 
money to the enterprises of the Church. 

To the Eev. W. Butters he writes : 

I am heartily glad you have filled up the subscription list 
for Wesley College ^ but I hope all the subscribers have paid. 
I suppose there is now every chance of the College making a 
good financial return. If so, I hope the wish I expressed at 



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282 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



its commencement will have the attention of the Committee, 
viz., that all the profits should be devoted to the general im- 
provement of the establishment. I suppose, however, that 
the Committee share my views hi this respect. The ground, 
the building, the interior arrangements for the physical 
comfort of the pupils, as well as their mental advancement, 
should be constantly improved until all is done that is es- 
sential. 

The Methodists appear to have lost their old fire in giving 
their energy in carrying out objects. Long experience has 
taught me that a willmg heart is more wanted than means. 
Some of the subscriptions to the Grammar School surprised 
and annoyed me ; others were more than I could have ex- 
pected from the individuals. 

On another occasion he wrote : 

I am glad to leani the great success which has already at- 
tended the opening of the College. Wlien it gets into fair 
working order, it will have still greater success. I should be 
delighted to see the formation of a good library, and the 
school rendered each year more and more efficient. Dr. 
Corrigan must aim at making it the best school in the colony, 
and the Committee must second all his efforts to accomplish 
this. 

Not content with the gift of $7,500 to that one 
object, he devoted to it invahiable time, and an in- 
calculable ontlay of mental and bodily strength. I 
quote the following letters to show how all his busi- 
ness qualities were made available for the service of 
the Church : 

To his Managers in Melbourne^ dbotit tlie Orammar School 

Bazaar. 

Worcester, July 9th, 1857. 

I forward you original invoices of all the goods that have 



BEEVICE OF THE CHURCn. 



283 



been shipped, a very attractive lot. I have spent nearly thi*ee 
weeks over this matter, and hunted through most of the 
foreign houses to select fancy goods. I was at heavy travel- 
ling and hotel expenses, besides employing 's buyer, for 

which, of course, I had to pay. I think it would serve the 
bazaar, if a good advertisement were inserted two or three 
weeks beforehand, stating the various goods as selected from 
the manufacturers of England, France, Germany, and Swit- 
zerland. I think every article ought to be marked at fair 
value, in plain figures, to prevent mistakes. I tliink your 
best plan would be to engage a good-sized room, and as you 
mark off, repack the goods, and send them to the bazaar in 

their cases. I wish you and to superintend this. With 

some goods Mrs. Drai)er * and Mrs. Bell might materially aid 
you in fixing the value. I should like a committee of gentle- 
men formed, to carry out all the arrangements of the bazaar 
several weeks prior to its opening ; so that a complete code 
of rules may be drawTi up, and strictly carried out. This 
would prevent all confusion. It will be worth all the trouble 
bestowed, as I anticipate such a beautiful assortment of goods, 
collected with much care and labor from the finest ware- 
houses in England, will prove a wonderful attraction to the 
Victorians, and with such aid as I believe the ladies will give, 
will realize something like $15,000. I shall send, next mail, 
a list of all those who have contributed in England, f with 
their addresses, that their contributions may be acknowledged 
by the Bazaar Committee. Give bazaar credit for my contri- 
bution of $2,500, and mind you get payment for balance 
out of bazaar proceeds. 

One advantage of a bazaar, or " sale of work," is, 
that it enables persons to contribute skill and labor 
as well as money in aid of the pecuniary exigencies 
of the kingdom of God. It also interests them, and 

♦ Wife of Rev. D. J. Draper, who was lost in the "London." 
t On his own application. 



284 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



SEEVICE OF THE CHURCH. 



285 



m' \ 



I 



I 



I 



Hi < 



unites them in the religious or philanthropic objects 
to which the proceeds are dedicated. It should not, 
however, be a frequent expedient, for reasons indi- 
cated by Mr. Powell : " I do not think it right to 
hold bazaars for Church purposes often, as that 
would injuriously interfere with small shopkeepei*8 
in the fancy trade." 

To the Rev. D. J. Draper. 

London, February \\tli{ 1858. 

The plan broached l)y some of our leading friends of mak- 
ing the Grammar School a joint-stock business, raising the 
money by shares, is a fallacy. In the first place, I do not be- 
lieve that half the money required could be raised ])y shares; 
and in the next, I want to know what security you could offer 
the shareholders, since neither the building nor the ground 
will be theirs, but will belong to the Methodist Connexion ? 
Government has also recognized the fact that to build gram- 
mar schools subsidies are required. Some seem to think that 
we are lowering the character of the school by "descending " 
to a bazaar, as that will fix on it the stigma of having been 
raised by charitable contributions. But the bazaar you are 
about to hold will not bo an affair of charity : people will 
get value for all the money they lay out. Should the school 
prove a profitable one, there will be no difiicultyin disposing 
of the profits. For the next twenty years, all that we can 
raise in that way will be absorl)ed in securing efficient appa- 
ratus and a good library, and improving the property. But 
had the school belonged to a proprietary, who might insist 
on dividends, no improvements could be made. No ! Let 
us (if possiV>le) raise the school free from obligations ; and if 
subscribers want any return, let them have it in the privilege 
of sending one or more scholars — free — for a certain period. 

I hoi^e you will adopt the siime system as you did in build- 
ing your chapels, viz., give a premium for the best plan. 
Let us have a school which will do the Wesleyans credit a 



century hence ; and let us rather wait for funds than spoil so 
important a structure for want of capital. 

To the Rev. J. S. Waugh, President of Wesley College, Mel- 

bourne. 

London, St. Dunstan's Buildings, 
January 24:th, 1866. 

My dear Sir, 

I address you as to one or two matters connected with the 
Insritution to which you have been appointed President, 
which liave arisen through the foundering of the ill-fated 
*' London." I saw much of our dear friends, the Drapers, 
while in England, they having stayed at my house for a fort- 
night, and spent Christmas day with me. Mrs. Powell and 
myself were the last persons they bade adieu to in London. 
We saw them depart from the Paddington station to Ply- 
mouth, on the first inst. My last conversation with him was 
in reference to Wesley College. T was anxious that an effort 
should be made to place the Institution in a good position 
before he left Melbourne. He replied, that he would make 
it his first business on landing, to see what could T)e done ; 
adding, that he intended giving $1,000 himself, and should 
endeavor to get four friends to join in making up $5,000, and 
then, by a general subscription, raising a total of $7,500, so 
as to secure my $5,000 within the stipulated time. With 
the "London" was lost the stock of books which Dr. Corri- 
gan and I selected. Fortunately, I had insured them, and 
will, if possible, send you a duplicate list by "Great Brit- 



am. 



?> 



It is very consoling in the midst of our distress to know 
that Mr. Draper's faith did not fail him in the hour of trial, 
and that for twenty-four hours before the vessel went down, 
he labored incessantly for the salvation of the passengers. 

Mind that the profits, after you are out of debt, are all de- 
voted to making the establishment most complete — improving 
the property, founding a library, and scholarships. Not a 
penny of College profits must be diverted. I am glad to leara 



286 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



SERVICE OF THE CIIURCn. 



287 




that you arc so heartily engaged in the greatest work of all 
— the work of God — whether in erecting chapels and schools, 
or preaching Christ. 

To the Rev. P. Wells. 

(Extract.) London, Fehruary 19^A, 1861. 

I AM most anxious for the prosperity of this institution 
(the Book Depot), and would give to any orders you may 
forward (for books) double the attention I should bestow on 
an ordinary l)usiness transaction. 

It is an object near my heart to promote the sale of religious 
publications in Victoria, for the public good. 

To tlie R&D. W. L. B'lnhs. 

London, 6, Broad Street Buildings, 

(Extract.) May 25th, 1861. 

My dear Mr. Binks. 

Your appointment to the office of book steward has 
delighted me, and I cannot but congratulate the Conference 
on their choice. I think you are aware, from painful exi)e- 
rience, that flattery is not my forte. But, in common justice 
I will Siiy, that you have the requisite qualities to make the 
Book Room a great success. It is a noble task that you have 
undertaken. There is not a finer field in Victoria than the 
one you have entered upon for the exercise of the best quali- 
tic s of the head and heart ; but the work is great ; it will de- 
mand your whole energies for "the six days; " and I do 
hope you will be set apart for it. It is impossible to esti- 
mate the influence of such a concern in ijromoting the piety and 
intelligence of the whole Church in Victoria, and I do hope 
that the Wesleyan Church will gradually awake to the value 
of such an auxiliary as the Book Depot, and that both minis- 
ters and laymen will strengthen and encourage you to the 
utmost. I hope you will adopt a wise and liberal policy — 
that your mam object will be the good of the people, that you 
will sell at a very moderate rate of profit, and that you will 
advertise and circulate your books to the widest extent. Do 



not weaken your central depot by scattering its contents into 
little lots in the various Circuits ; thus keeping your shelves 
empty. That plan will serve when you have more stock than 
you require. At present, always keep a good stock in Mel- 
bourne. It will soon get wind throughout the country and 
the surrounding colonics that you have a well-assorted stock, 
that they can always rely on getting an order supplied at the 
central depot, and your connection will be large and steady. 
Sell only for cash, and for all who want to sell again have a 
uniform rate of discount, no matter if the applicant be here- 
tic, Turk, or Jew. Your business is to sell, and let the Word 
have " free course." I will write to the New York " Con- 
cern " and get you their catalogues. I promise for the first 
two years to make you a present of $250 in books, and shall 
select them from all the publishers that I think will do you 
service. I have written to Mr. Whitney, requesting him to 
grant you a loan, at any time, to the extent of $500, without 
interest. 

To the Rev. W. L. Bin'ks. 

(Extract.) London, June 9iA, 1861. 

My anxiety to give you all the information I possess, and 
to make every suggestion that might promote the best inter- 
ests of the institution of which you have charge, must be 
my apology for the formidable dimensions my letters have 
assumed. AVhat I have done to give the Depot a fair start, 
has drawn heavily upon my time, which, with a business 
of the magnitude of the one I now manage, is of great 
value ; and when I tell you tiiat I have from thirty to forty 
other correspondents, you will admit that I have made some 
sacrifice. It is not to procure such an admission that I allude 
to it ; I only wish to prove that Victorian interests are still 
precious to me, and, by acts, convince old friends that I 
have not forgotten them. I may, i)erhaps, have gone beyond 
your wishes in some things. Should this be the case, I am 
quite willing to receive your corrections along with your sug- 
gestions as to how I can serve you better. That you should 



288 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



SERVICE OF THE CnUECII. 



289 



i^i 



have a wide and varied choice appeared to me essential. I 
have therefore not only procured you catalogues, but liave 
selected a little over $500 worth of samples from various 
sources. It is impossible for you to form a correct idea of 
books, etc., from catalogues — the samples will at once throw 
a flood of light upon the matter, and will enable you with 
great facility to make up your future orders. I enclose an 
order on my firm for §125 additional towards shelving, etc. 
I think this ought to be done in a nice manner. The fact 
that the profits of the institution are eventually destined to 
the worn-out ministers, ought to induce some effort. Why 
not invite to a social tea-meeting all those likely to sympa- 
thize with such an object ? You might then state what you 
hoped to accomplish with the Book Depot, and urge the 
claims of the old preachere upon the gratitude of those to 
whom they have devoted their best days. You might also 
urge the necessity of creating a small capital to give stability 
and insure success to your new enteiprise. You might take 
advantage of tlie same meeting to distribute the lists of 
books sent by this mail among them, and then endeavor to 
secure subscribers for magazines, newspapers, etc., stating 
that you would at all times be ready to send for any religious 
works required. 

What are you going to do with regard to tracts ? You 
ought to have a good supi)ly. Of all religious publications 
you should have such a stock on hand, and so well-sustained 
by quarterly importations, that every Methodist shall have 
the conviction tliat most of his wants of that kind can be sup- 
plied from your Depot. Aim at making your establishment 
perfect ; watch your stock carefully ; and, if possible, guard 
against running out of essential works. 

As some publications will pay a larger jjrofit than others, 
the husiness members of Committee must aid you on this 
point, as it requires discretion and erperience to regulate 
prices. Some books must ]>e sold at almost cost price. 

To arrive at the exact cost of your books, you must calcu- 
late the charges on every shipment, to ascertain the proportion 



they bear to Xka^t net value of the books ; and, of course, add 
the proportion to the net cost. In the charges you must not 
only reckon freight, insurance, commission, and other items 
connected with the transit, but also the cost of the cases and 
packing, and then add to the whole twelve months' interest 
at eight per cent. When your first shipment arrives, get Mr. 
Whitney to assist you. On every book and packet I should 
mark the cost and wholesale price in private letters, and the 
retail price in plain figures. I think it will be quite legiti- 
mate for your Depot to sell all kinds of sacred music. I have 
sent you Novello's catalogue ; and if you wish to encourage 
the sale of music, I will send you R. Cocks and Co.'s cata- 
lo«-ue. I have selected you a few examples of anthems, 
chants, and tune-books : you will see how you get on with 
them. With regard to publishers, — 

1. Gall and Inglis, Edinburgh, lay themselves out for 
such works as Sunday-schools require. I send you one of 
their catalogues, with the tradt3 prices marked. They will 
allow a further discount for cash, of at least ten per cent. 

2. Glass and Duncan, Glasgow, publish small reward books, 
tickets, and a "Child's Monthly Newspaper." I shall for- 
ward samples. 

8. Varty and Co. get up many nice works for children and 
schools, but only allow discount. I send their cata- 
logue. 

4. Tract Society and Conference Office. you know 

well. 

5. Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. This is a 
well-managed institution. It is a treat to go to their great 
depository. I hope you will look as well when your shelves 
are arranged and the counters up. This Society publishes 
many admirable books for children. I have made you a 
selection from all their new things. Their picture-tickets 
and picture-cards are very beautiful. Of these I send an 
ample supply. They allow a liberal discount, forty per 
cent. 

6. Sunday-school Union. — Only order from the Union such 

13 



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290 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



t. 



™''f 



works as they publish. Go to the fountain head for all you 
want. 

7. Groombridge and Son publish many useful works. I 
have selected a few. 

8. Darton and Son devote themselves to juvenile publica- 
tions. I have made a large selection. Their catalogue will 
repay perusal. 

9. Hayman Brothers have published two or three cheap 
tune-books, of which I send a few that I think will serve 
you. 

To Beo. D. J. Draper, 
(Extract.) London, December M, 1860. 

I must burden my gift with three conditions, which I hope 
you will not think unreasonable: that Mr. B.'s appointment 
to the Book Depot be for at least two years; that the 
trustees will never again impose any rent on the Book 
Depot ; and that they exempt me from all further obligations 
in the debts of Wesley Church. With the exception of Mr. 
B.'s appointment, the other matters are, I think, proposed ]jy 
yourself. I am most anxious about tlie Depot. The attempt 
to burden it with a rent wlien there were no funds but what I 
had supplied, was not fair ! I am determined, as far as I can, 

to protect it, until it has some strength. I have told to 

hand you bills to the amount of $2,500 ; and also that he is 
to double any amount raised for the St. Kilda Church, not 
exceeding $2,500. 

It is not well to clog a gift with conditions. Mr. 
Powell felt this; but lie would not throw away 
money on badly-managed institutions, or give money 
for one urgent objecit which he saw would inevitably 
be drawn to the relief of another and much less 
pressing affair. 

To the liev. D. J. Draper. 
(Extract.) 
My deak Mii. Draper, 
I do not wish to make this matter a difficulty ; my desire 



June l^t\ 1861. 



SERVICE OF THE CHUKCH, 



291 



being to afford real, not sham help. While I wish to help 
the Trustees of Wesley Church, my chief sympathy is, as you 
are aware, with the Book Depot. I wish to see it firmly 
established; and, since it is weak, and I feel much interest 
in it, I must insist upon my conditions, merely requiring that 
which is easy. I think, to the success of this institution, the 
reappointment of Mr. Binks is necessary. To remove the 
manager of an7j l)usiness so shortly after liis appointment 
would be destructive. I have a right to look well to this 
matter, being the only one who lias given, anytliing to insure 
its success. 

Mr. Buttei-s' arrival in Victoria looks like a preparation for 
your voyage to England, since I can hardly imagine that 
the Church can afford two men of your exj)erience in one dis- 
trict. 



June l^th, 1801. 



To Rev. W. T. Binls. 
(Extract.) 
My dear Mr. Binks, 

You have done well in boldly ordering a good stock of 
books. Your keeping shop comparatively without stock was 
ridiculous, and would speedily have insured the failure of 
your enterprise. You must not be higher in your prices, but 
on the whole, lower for religloua works. While the Book 
Depot is made to pay a moderate profit, forget not that the 
grand object is to spread truth and convert souls. I shall be 
glad of Church news. 

To Rev. J). J. Draper. 

October 22d, 1801. 

My dear Mr. Draper, 

It gives me great satisfaction that the Trustees of Wesley 
Church have placed themselves in a position to receive my 
$2,500. I have heard that those gifts are of the greatest 
value that cause some self-denial on the part of the donor. 
When I tell you — for your own eye and ear only — that my 
drawing-room remains unfurnished this year in consequence 



n 



292 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



SERVICE OF THE CHURCH. 



293 



I 



of the help I have Bent to St. Kilda, you will admit yome 
sacrifice has been made. I hope, however, to realize such a 
love to Him who had " not where to lay His head," as to do 
much "greater things than these" before "the pitcher is 
broken at the fountain." It is pleasing to find that Robinson 
is devoting himself to the work in such a noble way. You 
certainly have made the $2,500 grow to very respectable 
dimensions. As regards the Book Room, business to succeed 
must be done in a business-like manner. I have heard in 
public meetings Methodism praised more than Clirist— the 
scaffolding attracting more attention than the Architect ! I 
have been placed on the Committee of the Metropolitan 
Building Fund, but not having contributed— could not, at 
present — I would not go to vote away the money of othei-s. 

To the Rev. W. T. Binka. 

London, 6, Broad Street Buildings, 

June nth, 1861. 

My dear Mr. Binks, 

The office that has been assigned you, I am persuaded, is 
one of the most responsible you have ever been intrusted 
with. I believe that the influence of the Depot for good will 
be in proportion to the exertions of yourself and the Com- 
mittee, and that, rightly exercised, it will be such a lever in 
raising Methodist piety and intelligence in Australia, as your 
Church little dreams of. You must, however, be wise and 
liberal upon the broadest basis. You must be willing to wel- 
come publications from every source, provided they are good 
and cheap. Setting out on such a free-trade track, you will 
win the respect and gratitude of the Victorian population, 
and have substantial proofs of their favor in the large and 
profitable trade the Depot will soon be doing. 

I have spared no pains since the last mail left to make a 
selection from various publishers of books suitable for your 
Depot. In selecting the newest and most attractive things 
that have been recently published I have spent days. 



To the Rev. W. T. Binks. 



London, 1861. 



My dear Mr. Binks, 

It is vain to think that the concern will succeed if you are 
not set apart to it. To attempt the duties of a Circuit in 
connection with the Depot would be ruin to the Depot. I 
am now an old hand at business, and know that it requires 
undivided attention. If you l)c not set apart for the work, 
give it up. If not, sorrow is in store for you. \Vliy should 
you not be set apart for this work? You could still preach 
on Sundays, and the importance of developing so mighty an 
agency ot good may well be set against all you could accom- 
plish in a Circuit. 

To prophesy failure of a concern that has not yet been 
fully tried is the mark of a feeble mind, or else of envious 
opposition. To strengthen your hands I enclose an addi- 
tional order upon my firm. You may be sure I have plenty 
to do with all my spare money: still, I cannot spend m- 
money better. " Wisdom and knowledge" should be " tk 
stability " of the times, and preaching alone will never giva 
this. People to be steadfast must read. Take care of your- 
self, and may God preserve you to the Depot. 

The amount of his subscriptions to the Book 
Depot up to the end of 1861 was $3,875. 

October lltA, 1866. 

I am sorry to learn that your Book Room only pays ex- 
penses. Would the "Chronicle" be more attractive in a 
. newspaper f onn ? Must you have so much space taken up 
with accounts of local meetings ? Tliese might be noticed ; 
but the speeches of John Jones and Timothy Snooks, on the 
affecting occasion of presenting their ministci-s with a teapot, 
are not sufficiently instructive, or even amusing, to be re- 
ported in f ulL 

He then recommends that a considerable portion 



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294 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



ll'ii 



iT 



of the " Chronicle " should consist of" extracts from 
works of the greatest celebrity and in the highest 
style of composition ; " and that the " Poet's Corner" 
should not be " filled with the effusions of every 
giisher^^ to the exclusion of the beautiful composi- 
tions of our standard poets. " Those trashy local 
effusions — smite them hip and thigh with the weapon 
tliat forms the distinctive part of their author's own 
development. * Clear your minds of cant,' was an 
axiom of Dr. Johnson — in my opinion, a liealthy 
one." After all, he admits that such information 
" as " . . . "is much needed to promote a sympa- 
thetic feeling among the various Circuits." 

lie drew up an elaborate report on the best con- 
stitution for the Committee of Manairement and the 
mode of conducting its business. 

When Mr. Powell found himself fairly settled 
down in London, he devoted himself to the service 
of the Church there as unweariedly as he had done 
in Melbourne. 

A noble Christian simplicity breathes through 
the following extract from a letter to a friend in 
Melbourne : 

London, November 21«^, 1862. 

My work at present is in a Sabbath-school. I occasion- 
ally address the children and teachers, and now I have begun . 
intend to embrace sucli opportunities as may present them- 
selves to speak at public meetings on religious sul)jccts, so 
as to attain greater efficiency. You think I " may sit down 
in the House of Commons." That is not my vocation, at any 
rate not my taste. My desire is after giving up business to 
devote myself completely to religious and philanthropic 
movements. I hope I may be spared to labor abundantly in 



SERVICE OF THE CHUKCH. 



295 



this way before my Lord calls me hence. Let every one 
glorify God in the way he is best fitted for. 

Throughout he acted on the motto of Lord Somers, 
" ProdesBC qudm eonspici ; " he had rather be ser- 
viceable than conspicuoiis. Yet he aimed at the 
highest efficiency. On ifnding himself summoned 
to usefulness upon the platform, he put himseit 
through a regular course of training under a protes- 
sionaf elocutkmist. He was incessantly urging his 
friends to work as well as to give ; e. g., " Do not 
give way to frivolous pleasures, even if you can de- 
fend them and prove them innocent. You can em- 
ploy your time better and more nobly. I hope if 
you have been dnly presented with a license as a lay 
reader in the Church, that you will throw yourself 
into the work. You will soon find whether God has 
called you to it. Mr. Buttei-s tells me that through 
earnest application and sincere devotion C. II. G-. 
has become a most acceptable preacher. He was in 
circumstances similar to yours. Work while it is 
day in whatever sphere of usefulness you may find 
yourself : if not, listlessness will grow into a settled 
habit, and spoil all your plans of usefulness." 
To friends in Melbourne and Tasmania : 

January, 1866. 

My course is just the same as when you were here. I work 
at business and for the Church, and am now engaged about 
a small chapel we wish to erect near Bayswatcr. It is in a 
very destitute part of London, where ten years ago there were 
not five hundred people, but now a population of from 
twenty-five thousand to thirty thousand. They belong chiefly 



296 



LITE OF WALTER POWELL. 



SERVICE OF THE CHrECIL 



297 




to the laboring classes ; few of them attend a place of worship. 
London would appal you in many parts with its rapid growth 
and spiritual destitution. Vast exertions are being made by 
all denominations; but to barely overtake the increase re- 
quires fifty or sixty new places of worship every year. The 
pressure upon one from every quarter to give is wonderful — 
deputations, collectors, letters;: reports, etc., a man who has 
anything to give is now flooded with, so that a systematic 
plan is one's only relief and safety. 

We have a good plan in our Circuit of inviting our congre- 
gations once a year to tea. We then address them on various 
matters, urging them to duty and decision and anything else 
that will make them better and happier. Tlie tract-distrib- 
utors get up annually a similar meeting, inviting chiefly the 
poor among whom they labor, and urging them to accept the 
Gospel. Our Sunday-school superintendents also give an 
annual tea to the parents* of the children who attend our 
schools. The teachers call upon the parents individually. 
They are thus brought into personal contact, which establishes 
a sympathy between them. Our Parents' Tea •Meeting is a 
grand event. They are addressed by ministers and laymen 
on their responsibilities and duties as parents. It is shown 
them that these can only be discharged by the grace of God. 
Those who are not limng members of the Church are then 
urged to become so. Such meetings as these develop the best 
feelings of the heart. They afford scope for the talent of 
many excellent people who but for such meetings would never 
know their own gifts. They create also that kindly sympa- 
thy which is the golden link ])etween the poor and their 
brethren who are " l>etter off," instead of the gnawing envy 
which forms an impassable gulf. I hope that if you have 
none of these periodical gatherings you will try to promote 
them in Launceston. 

Is it not instructive that one so given to self-an- 
alysis should yet be so healthily outward and vigor- 
ously objective % It is clear that his sensitive and 



searchbg introspection did neither overstrain nor 

distort his mental vision. 

How well it was for Melbourne that, in the founa- 
tive period of its history, it developed so inany m- 
t Iligent, energetic, high-principled, ^f^^^^;'^ 
ing citizens 1 Mr. Powell was almost to the last a 
Mdboume man, regarding London as only bs tem- 
porary residence. He writes : ■ " I canno hdp .gl> 
in<r for Australia." And agam m 1861 . What! 
hat-e done and intend doing in Australia necessa- 
rily limits my giving in England. This you may 
suppose is painful, since 1 am constantly solicited^ 
I must do the best 1 can and leave the rest with 

God." 

13» 



i 



n 



\ 




HIS HOME TKAITS. 



299 




il! 



1 \ 






fif 



II ; 



il 



i I 



1 }\ 



fWH 



CHAPTER XXI. 

HIS HOME TRAITS, GENIALITY, FRANKNESS, AND 

AFFECTION. 

A YOUNG Irishman, preaching from the text, 
" Perfecting holiness in the fear of God," instructed 
his audience qnite as much as he startled tliem by 
his introductory sentence : " The first thing I have 
to say about holiness, brethren, is. There's nothing 
shabby in it." If there had been, it would have 
been strangely out of keeping with the character of 
Walter Powell, whose 

*' Eye, when turned on empty space, 
Beamed keen with honor." 

A very inadequate and even misleading idea of 
Mr. Powell's personality would be given without 
those minor traits which may be regarded as the 
JllUng in of a true portraiture. Though his charac- 
ter had a bold contour, with pronounced features, 
yet it bore no hardness or sharpness of outlines. He 
was no smooth model of a man, but presented a 
strongly-marked individuality. In committee he 
was often eager, and almost overbearing, when in- 
tent on carrying, against tlie inertness or timidity of 
others, some scheme, of the utility, imix)rtance, and 
urgency of which he was deeply convinced. In 



society he was chatty, communicative ; fond of trot- 
tincr out hobbies, and showing their best paces ; full 
of anecdotes and apologues ; a strange combmation 
of earnestness and abandon. 

His overflowing humor, and his keen sense of the 
ludicrous, were, nevertheless, in perfect harmony 
with his rare business ability, his intense sensitive- 
ness of conscience and his earnest devotion. His 
pleasantries were but the outgushings of a spirit, 
which had caught its cheerful tones from the songs 
of the seraphs. His laugh had in it the ring of a 
Christmas chorus : 

" Peace and good-wiU, good-wiU and peace ; 
Peace and good-wiU to all mankind." 

In his journal he sets down smart replies and 
happy hits in common conversation. Of course, 
there is very little quotable in this bubbling of good- 
natured mother-wit. But our sketch would be in- 
complete without a dash of his light-hearted play- 
fulness. In his confidential letters he would burst 
out into madcap rhyme. 

To Mrs. Poicell. 
(Extract.) Hyde Pakk Square, August mh, 1861. 

WeU ! shall we do the grand ? Must we fall back on 
Upper Hyde Park, with its huge rent and bumptious preten- 
sions ? What are two poor Methodists to do ? However, I 

shall confer with A , and sec what mischief he is desirous 

of cretting me into.-So chapel and church-Well leave m 
the lurch ;-And as for the schools !-Let the young grow up 
fools.— For mind, my dear honey— We haven't the money— 
To waste in this way~lt retvljy don't pay-Wc want all our 




1} 



. ? 




300 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



cash — To lavish on trash, — We must furnish a mansion — In 
all it8 expansion — "With everything elegant, wondrous, and 
fine — In painting, and music, and th' crockery line. What 
style would you like for a drawing-room fender ? — On the 
subject of fire-irons, I know you arc tender. — As an emblem 
of trade, on the whole, perhaps the best — We could paint on 
our carriage for family crest 1 

Even in his business letters he could not suppress 
his humor. 

He concludes thus a mock-heroic denunciation of 
the Conference for a financial policy of which he 
disapproved : 

"But perhaps it is better to be like the local 
preacher from whom I once bought gold in Mel- 
bourne. Said I, * If you get digging it up in these 
quantities, you will soon depreciate its value in Eng- 
land.' * Ah, sir,' replied he, with a wise shake of 
the head, * there are men in our Conference there 
who would never aUoio that.' " 

Mr. Powell's acute susceptibility to all kinds of 
merry-wisdom was shown in conversation, corre- 
spondence, lectures to young men, and even in his 
grave diary, where, amidst records of his reading 
and religj^is struggles and successes, he notes ser- 
viceable retorts and sensible repartees. Though he 
was neither a wit nor a professed punster, he yet 
displayed in a quiet, easy way, genuine humor in 
most of its forms ; " pat allusion to a known story, 
seasonable application of a trivial saying, play on 
words and phrases, taking advantage from the am- 
biguity of their sense or the affinity of their sound, 
an odd similitude, a sly question, a smart answer, a 



HIS HOME TRArrs. 



301 



quirkish reason, a shrewd intimation, a tart irony, a 
lusty hyperbole, a startling metaphor, an acute non- 
sense, a scenical representation of persons or things, 
a counterfeit speech, a mimical look or gesture, an 

affected simplicity." 

Our friend also studied "whatsoever things are 
lovely," entering carefully in his journal fine 
though slight traits of goodness, and small instruc- 
tive incidents ; e.g., — 

" March 15th, I860.— I saw a beautiful sight in 
one of the crowded thoroughfares of London. A 
well-dressed lady had just crossed the street, when 
she met a poor, blind beggar-man, who was trying to 
find his way to the side from which she had just 
come, groping with a stick, and in great danger 
from the horses and carriages on every side. The 
lady, without a moment's hesitation, took hold of 
his hand, and led him across, and then returned, and 
went her way. But her act of love was silently re- 
corded." 

Kesolute as Mr. Powell was by habit, and irrita- 
ble as he was by temperament, and strongly as he 
thought, spoke, and acted, he was very relenting, 
and always tried to soften the effect of too ener- 
getic expressions, by healing and explanatory post- 
scripts ; e.g., " Having read this over, I am afraid 
its tendency is to depress you." 

To a young friend just setting up in business: 

" One essential element of success in business is 

uniform politeness and kindness. It does one's self 

good as well as those towards whom it is exercised. 

It acts wonderfully on assistants. I should insist on 



302 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



their treating all persons not obsequiously, but 
courteously. I have no faith in your burly brutes, 
who pride themselves on their bluntness, and think 
themselves thereby licensed to wound the feelings 
of all they come in contact with. I regard a written 
sneer as a detestable thing." 

Mr. Powell's prosperity was clearly not the pros- 
perity of a fool; it had no perceptibly injurious 
effect upon his character, lie seemed at least as 
humble and submissive when a merchant in London 
as when a clerk in Tasmania; when the most lib- 
eral, active, and influential member of a prosperous 
colonial Church, as when a young convert trembling 
under the responsibilities of a prayer-leader and 
Sunday-school teacher. At any rate, his journal 
records with perfect acquiescence his Church hu- 
miliations as well as his Church labors and suc- 
cesses. 

"Melbourne, September 27th, 1859.— Attended 
the leaders' meeting from seven till ten p.m. The 
meeting finally arrived at a resolution to the follow- 
ing effect : * It is cause for regret that the matters in 

dispute between Messrs. and Powell were not 

brought before the Church prior to resorting to an 
action at law. That both the brethren are in the 
wrong : Mr. for giving occasion for legal pro- 
ceedings ; Mr. Powell for not bringing the affair 
before the Churcli court in the first instance.' The 
leaders also expressed their conviction that my 

claim on Mr. was, ne\ertheless, perfectly just, 

and he signified his willingness to admit it. The 
matter is thus brought to a satisfactory conclusion." 



IIIS HOME TRAITS. 



303 



"September 28th.-The Rev. Mr. called on 

me, with Mr. , and showed me a receipt from 

my lawyer for the debt whicia had recovered from 

him. I returned him £ ." 

Perfectly good-humored submission to the formal 
and recorded strictures of a Church court, composed 
for the most part of individuals of inferior soml 
position, is not the easiest virtue to a man who has 
rapidly risen in wealth and in consideration, occu- 
pying a forefront station both in the Church and m 
the secular community. n, i 

After all, the loveliest phase of Mr. Powell s char- 
acter must remain unsketched-his fireside graces 
and " all the sweet civilities of life." 

But such entries as the following are very sigmli- 

''''" August 12th, I860.— Gave Laura a lesson on 
Christ the Example for the young, and, after com- 
mending her to the blessing and protection ot the 
Almighty during our absence, took her back to 

school." p 

The very extravagance of his language was otten 

obviously intended to be self-correcting by its comic 

exaggeration : , 

" Such a mode of carrying on business is enough 

to make one dance with rage." 

At other times it was serious enough : 

« I would rather throw the money into the sea, 

than give him a farthing of that to which he makes 

an unrighteous claim, or yield to his greediness. 

Idleness seems to have eaten into his heart s core. 

So he had better cease from worrying, m the vam 



!| 



4 

V: 



m 







304 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



hope of inducing mo to give way. I must raise my 

voice against sin. You say has been put out 

of his situation. He put himself out by negligence 
and carelessness." 

Yet it must be confessed that he was at times too 
impetuous, too impatient of the prejudices, the 
leanings, and likings, and habitudes of others, in his 
ardent pursuit of a good object. He evidently had 
a difficulty in making due allowance for the tem- 
perament and inveterate notions, and, if one may so 
say, the natural history, of his opponents in com- 
mittee or negotiation. This fault of his was, doubt- 
less, to a great extent, not only constitutional, but 
the result of insidious, and at last fatal, physical dis- 
ease. It cost him deep sorrow. lie was one of 
that very exceptional class who lind a difficulty in 
seeing a matter fiom an opponent's point of view, 
or giving a large maigin of indulgence for a Chris- 
tian brother's state of health or business, or domes- 
tic relations, or spiritual conflicts. Yet he himself 
was conscious of needing such allowance, lie was 
built upon the high-pressure principle, and there 
was always danger of becoming overheated. His 
greatest mistake was in not making due concessions 
to the fixed habits and the helpless irritability of 

old age ; e.g., " They plead 's old age ; but I 

ask. Is an offender to be dealt with more leniently 
because he is an old offender ? " But that such explo- 
sive sentences were, on his side, the indications of 
excited exhaustion, is perfectly plain ; the very next 
sentence being, "I am knocked up with business; 






ins HOME TEAITS. 



305 



SO pray excuse more. I have been writing until 
head and hands refuse to do more." 

It was his nature and his habit to speak, as well 
as to think, feel, and act, strongly and .^tra.ght out 
Writing in relation to a friend's affairs : Those 
banks destroy the colonies, sacking the very blood 
out of the trading community for the sake of a lazy 

^Z" Poweil did not shrink from that highest and 
most arduous act of true friendship, earnest remon- 
strance. His affectionate frankness and unflinching 
thoroughness in pointing out any serious defect m 
the character of a friend, and warning against any 
weakness or thoughtlessness which had the appear- 
ance and the effect of a breach of the golden rule, 
^vas one of his rarest excellencies. " Faithful are 
the wounds of a friend." It was, perhaps, in the 
band-meeting that he acquired this Christian accom- 
plishment-fidelity in reproof. To an old friend, on 
the proposal to renew a suspended correspondence: 
"I am not surprised to find y<ni lamenting that 
any interruption should have occurred in our friend- 
ship It is difticult to renew a correspondence witli 
thorough heartiness ; drgicuU, but, happily, not im- 
possible. I have no desire to recur to tlie past, by 
charghig you with faults, which, if they existed, 
ouo-ht at once to have been pointed out by me. It 
would scarcely be seemly to 'say out' now what 
should have been spoken years ago. I therefore ac- 
cept, with all heartiness and sincerity, your proposal 
to proclaim a mutual amnesty for the past. And 
let us resolve, by God's grace, since nothing else is 



306 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS nOME TRAITS. 



307 



strong, that our renewed friendship shall he hased 
ou the utmost simplicity, candor, and truth. 

" The longer I live, the more I see the necessity 
of bending before the one fountain of trutli — the 
Scriptures ; endeavoring to drink in those clear dis- 
closures, by which our duty to God and to our 
neighbor is made plain. All other * remedies ' fail 
to heal. But this not only heals, but gives Divine 
power to contend daily with the world, oui-selves, 
and Satan, which, unless opposed by Divine energy, 
will assuredly prove our destruction." 

Expostulating with a friend who had inconsider- 
ately placed him in a very annoying and perilous 
situation : 

"No doubt your position was one of difficulty, but 
I am afraid you did not give my interests as much 
consideration as they deserved, after the very plain 
way in which I wrote on the matter. It has caused 
me much mental suffering for the last few months. 
I, however, cordially accept your assurance that you 
did not tliink it would at all injure me." 

Again : 

" I spoke plainly, as having your interests at heart. 
You must remember that remarks in writing always 
appear more severe than those made vocally, having 
none of the qualifications of tone and manner. The 
only way of getting right again is to repent, i.e. to 
see that the wrong is in yourself, your own foolish- 
ness, and not in others. Let us be faithful to each 
other. Our friendship is based on mutual faithful- 
ness. Of yours I have the firmest conviction, and 






you must not have less confidence in mine, even 
when I point out errors." ^^ 

It must be admitted that onr friend was not a 
smooth man." He was much more like the cocoa- 
nut than the peach. His character was rather linn 
and strong than pulpy and downy. To some he 
might sometimes seem to have a hard shell, and a 
rou-h though serviceable coating ; yet he had withal 
a la"i-ge heart and a profusion of the richest milk ot 
human kindness. His very vehemence was the milk 
of human kindness boiling over. In such moments 
Thackeray would have called him " beneviolent." 

One of the most marked characteristics was his 
love of children. This is strikingly illustrated in his 
correspondence ; e.g., to a friend in Victoria : 

London, St. Dunstan's Buildings, 
Ayril 2Qth, 1866. 

I have sent a small case addressed to you,— a few toys for 
your poor chUd to amuse her during her wearisome affliction. 
The toys are of a substantial character, but among them is a 
nice little china tea-set. Tea-sets always have a great rep- 
utation among children. 

His correspondence with young people was very 
large. I can only give a specimen. 
To a little niece at school : 

London, 79, Lancaster Gate, 
(Extract.) ' October 10th, 1866. 

My dear , 

You must throw all your energies into your studies. It is 
a noble thing to resolve, as the catechism says, "to learn and 
labor tmly to get my own living." 



1'^ 






t< i 




I 






308 



LIFE OF WALTER rOWELT^ 



I am sorry to learn that you have a bad temper ; but it is 
wise to acknowledge it, since ** confession is half way to 
amendment." I can give you an infallible recipe for its cure. 
Try secret, earnest prayer. '* The grace of God brings salva- 
tion," not only salvation after we are dead, but salvation 
while we are living. Jesus Christ came to save us from our 
sins. Now bad temper is a sin, and your heavenly Father is 
waiting to save you from it and from all sins, if you would 
ask Him. God is faithful Who promises. He always keeps 
His promise. Well, He promises to give His Holy Spirit to 
those who ask Him. Now, remember, that wliere God's 
Holy Spirit dwells, evil cannot triumph. Have you made 
prayer your delight as well as your duty ? Foniial prayers 
will never profit you much. Prayer should be the pouring 
out of your heart to God, telling Him earnestly all you need, 
and entreating Him to help you, begging Him to supply your 
wants. Do you want a sympathizing, loving friend ? Jesus 
is your Saviour, Brother, Friend. Now, after this little ser- 
mon, let me beg you to go to God, believe that He will keep 
His promise ; pray and expect to receive the Holy Spirit to 
abide with you. When lie comes you will find your l)ad 
temper cured ; and then cheerfulness and thankfulness will 
be the constant state of your mind. Now I have witnessed 
this cure in so many hundreds of cases, that I 8i)eak with 
confidence when I reconnnend it. 

Your drawing will always be a delight to you, especially 
when you learn to sketch from nature. You must read all 
the well-written books you can meet with ; they will im- 
prove your knowledge and your style. When you meet with 
a good author, examine attentively how the sentences are 
framed. If you like me to write in this way, I shall be 
happy to open a steady correspondence with you. 

I remain, yours affectionately, 

Walter Powell. 

Another form which our friend's kindliness as- 
sumed was his love of " personal talk." 



HIS HOME TRAITS. 



309 



To one of his partners in Melbourne : 



My dear Chambers, 

The news that most interests me is what does not appear in 
the public prints, U., the doings of all I have ariy knowledge 
of-their advance or decline, their removals, sellmg off, etc., 
marriages, births, and deaths. We already have a smnmary 

of the latter, still I miss many. How does prosper^ 

Has a pubUc garden yet been opened | Where have they 
decided to make the terminus at Castlemaine? What are 
the Wesleyan ministers about? Have you been to see the 
Book Depot, and what is it like? These, and a hundred 
other small things constantly occurring, are what I want to 
know. For, strange to say, these small items of intelligence 
are of the most value to us here. 

Then follows good-natured gossip about Austra- 
lians in England,^ full of quiet humor— as if England 
were just a place to which Australians might come 
for purposes of recreation and trade— finishmg 
with — 

I hope to hear that your pariiamentary struggle is settled. 
Better have a strong government that does not quite please 
you, than be in the state you have lately been in. 

The following testimonies from highly competent 
men cast further light on some line traits in Mr. 
Powell's character. The Eev. B. Cocker, LL.D., 
now Professor of Moral Philosophy in the Univer- 
sity of Michigan, writes : 

My first introduction to Mr. Powell was in the early pari: of 
the memorable '52, when the gold excitement was at its 
height. I called upon him at the store, comer of Great 



310 



LIFE OF WALTER POWKLL. 



HIS HOME TKAITS. 



311 



^^ 



Collins and Swanston Streets, and presented a note of intro- 
duction. Sixteen years, spent mostly in other lands, crowded 
with great changes and stirring events, have since swept over 
me ; and yet, to-day, the companionship of Mr. Powell 
seems the most vivid of all my remembrances. 

My first interview left a somewhat unfavorable impression 
on my mind. lie was exceedingly busy. There seemed a 
touch of rcseiTe in his manner, and an air of abstraction on 
his countenance, which indicated that his mind was pre-oc- 
cupied with responsibilities. A further acquaintance dis- 
pelled the apparent reserve ; the air of abstraction melted 
away. I got through the outer cmst of him, and approached 
his heart. I learned to love him with a brother's love. It 
was my happiness to be thrown a great deal into his society, 
in matters of business, in public colonial affairs, in social life, 
in enterprises of benevolence, in Church relations and com- 
munings, and my attachment was daily strengthened. New 
revelations of goodness, of nobleness, of purity of intention, 
were continually unfolding. I never saw him perform an 
act, never heard him speak one word, which diminished my 
affection for him ; on the contrary, it ever grew deeper and 
stronger. 

Tliose memoraljle years '52 to '56, tried men's characters, 
and put men's principles and resources to the severest test. 
The delirious excitement of the gold discovery carried men 
off their feet, and turned their heads. A great many be- 
came moral, and some mental, wrecks. But amid all this 
excitement and wild peqjlexity, Mr. Powell retained his self- 
control, his calmness of spirit, his inward life of comnmnion 
with God. He stood like a rock amid the billows. He 
seemed almost the only calm and self-possessed man, in a 
great community run mad. With clear-sighted and far- 
sighted sagacity he saw that, to manage well his own Ijusiness, 
to avoid rash speculation, and wait for calmer weather, was 
the surer way to wealth. And the course of events soon justi- 
fied his prudence. For when the tide began to recede, and a 
commercial crisis arose, and swept like a tornado over the 



colony, and probably two-thirds of the commercial houses m 
Melbourne were driven on a lee-shore and wrecked he went 
through the storm securely; his losses were small, and he 
came out with an ample fortune. During these excitmg 
times he was faithful to his duties as an oflicer of the Church, 
and he longed and labored to bring up the Church to the re- 
sponsibilities and duties of the hour. And, above all, he 
was inexorable in his determination to secure time for the 
culture of his heart, for closet prayer, and for the study ot 
the Word of God. Here was the secret of his calmness and 
streno-th. He went forth into the noise and bustle of the 
world in that repose and peace of soul which commumon with 
God supplies. His soul was "stayed on" God. He was 
anchored in the calm of the Infinite presence. He walked 
with God in holy communion, as he sold merchandise m the 
store, and conversed on business in the streets. And because 
he did everything in the fear of God, he did right. There 
never was breathed a doubt as to his integrity or honor, and 
his word was never questioned. In the business circles of the 
colony he left a spotless name. 

During these three years there was no true social life in the 
colony. The masses went there to make their fortune, and 
then return to England. Even the children born in Austra- 
lia were taught to speak of England as their honw. No one 
cared to make a home in the colony. The chief concern was 
to make money; and, for the rest, they barely "lodged" 
and "boarded." The amenities of life— literature, music, 
art, intellectual converse, the love and joy of friendship- 
could there find no congenial place. The heart of Mr. Powell 
sighed for these, and in his last letter to me from London he 
assigns this as one chief reason for his return to England. 
But he made the most of the little rills of joy which trickled 
here and there amid the arid sands of that social desert. His 
house at Prahran was an oasis m the wilderness. A well- 
stocked library, and the refreshing strains of sacred music, 
made his house a home. Never can I forget my walks with 
him across the open country towards Prahran, the commun- 



312 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS HOME TRAITS. 



313 



I ^ 






I 



ion of spirit we enjoyed, the deep and serious converse of 
"the things of God." And then the joyous welcome of his 
wife, the sunshine of l)er face, as slie met him at the door ; 
and the music — he at the harmonium, and Mrs. Powell at 
the piano — accompanied by the richer melody of his voice I 
We seemed to dwell for an hour or two in a better world. He 
had a few chosen friends in whose society he took delight. 
When these were gathered round him, there was the radiancy 
of joy — the hearty laugh, the merry twinkle of his eye. 

I am asked to indicate the weaknesses I detected in him. 
I must at once avow my blindness to his defects ! He came 
nearer to my ideal of " a perfect man " than any other human 
being it has been my lot to know. Behold an Israelite in- 
deed, in whom there was no guile ! If for a moment, a day, 
perhaps a week, I doubted the wisdom of his conduct, or 
suspected him to be slightly blinded to the exact claim of 
right towards myself or others, a few more days or weeks 
sufficed to convince me he was right. 

He had a sound judgment, an intuitive perception of the 
just and true, a tender conscience, a warm and loving heart. 
He was full of compassion. He conceived noble plans, had 
great executive ability, and a persistence which carried his 
plans to completion. His intellectual powers were of no 
mean order. He was at all times a good speaker : occasion- 
ally eloquent, always persuasive and convincing. A scholas- 
tic education would have fitted him for distinction in science 
or literature. But he was in his place. God's cause wants 
large-hearted, noble Christians in business, to conduct trade 
on Bible principles, to grow rich by industry and integrity, 
and to be faithful in the use of wealth. Mr. Powell was all 
this. He served his own generation by the will of God. 

The great rush to the gold-fields was in 1852, after the in«- 
telligence had reached England and America, People were 
landing in Hobson's Bay at the rate of ten thousand a week. 
Mr. Powell had then erected his large wholesale warehouse in 
Swanston Street, and he threw open the upper room to ac- 
commodate the homeless, shelterless emigrants. 



The Church Extension Society (afterwards called the 
*' Church Building Loan Fund'^) was greatly indebted to his 
earnest advocacy and his liberal contributions. The friends 
in the colony cannot have forgotten the meeting in Collnis 
Street Church, when, after one of his characteristic addresses, 
he offered twenty-fire jter cent, additional on all the subscrip- 
tions of that year throughout the colony. I can now see 
him as he stood on the floor, with his hands clasped, quietly 
but earnestly arguing the imperative need of immediate action : 
" We must struggle to overtake, and keep alongside with, 
the vast influx of immigration, or we shall sink into barbar- 
ism, and re-enact the outrages of California Christianity 

is the only lever which can save us from moral putridity." 
With such words as these he urged the Church to be equal, 
by God's help, to the great emergency ; and then, by one of 
his strokes of native sagacity, he made his proposal. Some 
$15,000 were subscribed on the spot. And, at the end of the 
year, his check was dra\vn for the twenty-five per cent, addi- 
tional on all contributions. 

The Eev. William Arthur, M.A., states: 

My knowledge of Mr. Walter Powell extended over a good 
many years, and was such as to give me many opportunities, 
and some special ones, of judging of his character. The im- 
pression left upon me was that of uncommon integrity and 
high religious excellence ; especially a deeply conscientious 
regard for duty, a simple and humble spirit, great generos- 
ity, and steady attention to departments of labor for which 
he made himself responsible. From private intercourse I 
knew that the humiliation of his spirit before God was 
touchingly deep, and his spirit towards fellow-laborers in the 
Lord's work gentle and considerate. During the time of my 
acquaintance with him, I never knew anything in his walk 
that I could justly blame, and saw enough of amiability and 
large-mindedness to secure unaffected regard; enough of 
Christian graces to make one feel that, in his soul, the Lord 

14 



314 



LIFE OF WALTER PO'WELL. 



II 
II 



had wronglit a work of grace little displayed in profession, 
but more than ordinarily well attested in spirit and life. 

Mr. Powell's junior London partner says : 

Spencer Villas, Nightingale Road, Clapton. 
Those characteristics which most impressed themselves 
upon my recollection, were, — 

1. His quick decision. 

Free from the vanity which would seek to conceal an im- 
perfect acquaintance with the subject requiring discussion, he 
freely inquired into those points on which lie was not fully 
informed. Having thus obtamed a clear view of the matter, 
his course of action was at once determined. 

With the details fairly before him, he arrived with unusual 
celerity at the solution of the problem, often as if by intui- 
tion; and rarely did it happen that his conclusions needed 

reconsideration. 

2. His persistence, perseverance, and tenacity of purpose. 
These, I think, contributed greatly to his having achieved 

so much. Instances have occurred, when travelling alone, 
of his being attacked by indisposition, such as, had he been 
an ordinary man, would have sent him by the first available 
conveyance to the comforts of home, which he could have 
reached in a few hours ; but he pressed on, in trying weather, 
through his self-allotted task, never swerving until the last 
place of business had been visited, and his purpose was fully 
accomplished. 

3. His talent for organization. 

Avoiding the occupation of his time with attention to mere 
details, he preferred leaving these to others, after laying 
down principles, or giving clear directions for their guid- 
ance. 

It was thus that while the responsibility of extensive com- 
mercial transacdons, involving interests of no little magni- 
tude, were depending upon him, he was ^ble, by devoting 



ms HOME traits. 



315 



only a few hours each day, to keep his business well in hand, 
and find time for benevolent and philanthropic ol)jects. 

If an instance of mismanagement occurred, it was not his 
custom to seek out the author of it and take him to task, but 
rather to consider how and why the error had originated. 
He would then provide such safeguards, or alterations of 
system, as would prevent its recurrence. For sheer careless- 
ness he made no excuse. He would frequently say, "Busi- 
ness neglected is Ijusincss lost." 

In many instances his correspondents abroad derived much 
advantage from his friendly counsel ; and one who was ex- 
ceedingly successful, said that he owed it greatly to the man- 
ner in which Mr. Powell had conducted the business which 
he had intrusted to him. 

4. His regard for trifles. 

Any new invention or article of merchandise, if it had 
merits, although insignificant in cost, he would take care to 
introduce to those likely to appreciate it. 

He was not in danger of the fate predicted for those who 
*' despise small things," though often engaged in arranging 
for whole cargoes from distant ports, the trade of which his 
own enterprise had done much to develop. 

5. Order and punctuality. 

These were prominent features of his character. Five 
minutes before an appointment, rather than one minute after, 
was his rule. However much of business — confusion or dis- 
order in his own arrangements or surroundings w^as unknown. 
His task well considered, and judiciously provided for, was 
usually completed before the time prescribed. 

6. His high character and principle. 

Wliile watching closely and keenly the interests of a large 
circle of colonial correspondents, he carefully avoided the 
taking of any undue advantage, either on their behalf or his 
own. His career, in short, affords one more proof that it is 
still possible for Christian princijjle to achieve commercial 
success. 

7. Delicacy of feeling and kindness. 






4 

1 



! 



i 



316 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



These were natural to him. He shrank from roughly 
reproving even those by whose failures in duty he suif ered. 

If he thought a clerk in his office did not seem contented and 
comfortable, he would inquire, indirectly, what was the cause, 
and, if possible, remove it. The Saturday half-holiday and 
early-closing movement had his sanction and support. 

After visiting the International Exhibitions of London in 
1862, and Paris in 1867, he provided that those who served 
him should share in the gratification he had himself experi- 
enced; and for this purpose ample time and means were 
specially afforded to each member of his staff, on both of 
those occasions. 

8. His cheerful and genial temper. 

Rarely did it happen that he parted with those who came 
to transact business before some pertinent anecdote or illus- 
tration, drawn from his large experience of men and man- 
ners, had cheered and enlivened the interview. Frequently 
he would wind up with some humorous sally that sent his 
visitor away with smiling face and " merry heart." 

This is the result of my own experience, extending over 
several years. ^ ^^^^^ 

These testimonies to Mr. Poweirs kindliness might 
easily be multiplied, and countless illustrative inci- 
dents recorded, such as his lending a friend in straits 
$9,000, and on his almost immediate failure, paying 
his passage to America; and his sending an accom- 
plished but obscure and necessitous teacher of 
music $125, to enable her to give a concert to make 
her talents known. But enough has been said to 
prove that with all his dexterity, regularity, and 
energy as a business man, and all his strictness and 
fervor in the cultivation of spiritual-mindedness, 
there was as little in his character of the gaunt and 
hard as of the censorious or the mystical. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

HIS DECLINING HEALTH AND DEATH. 

Mr. Powell's constitution had never fully re- 
covered from the shock of the severe injury re- 
ceived in his youth. For years he had been subject 
to severe attacks of sickness, and whenever he was 
subjected to any great or long-continued strain upon 
his physical or mental powei-s, a long and trjdng 
illness was sure to follow. Latterly he had more 
than once had intimations that there were symptoms 
of that terrible disease which for the past twenty 
years has proved so fatal to energetic professional 
and business men — Albuminuria. This had led him 
to endeavor to keep his business within moderate 
bounds. In September, 1865, he wrote to a friend : 
" By the present mail, I am refusing good business 
orders to the extent of $150,000 a year, from wealthy 
parties. I have j ust retired from the Melbourne firm, 
because I wish to concentrate my tlioughts on the 
London business, and keep everything in a compact 
compass." To the same friend under date of " April 
26th, 1866," he thus states his reason for not im- 
mediately giving up business altogether : " 1 have 
not been strong the last twelve months, having been 
frequently under the doctor's care. The weight 
of the large business is wearing. I indulge some* 



318 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS DECLINING HEALTH AND DEATH. 



310 



I 



m 



times in dreams of retiring, which I check by the 
reflection that I am more useful where I am, at any 
rate for the present." Ilis Church cares also weighed 
heavily on him. 

Although he was still at heart an Australian, con- 
fessing, *' I cannot help sighing for Australia," and 
cherishing a hope that he should yet return and 
devote a few more years to Victoria ; although he 
felt that in England he was " a sti-anger in a strange 
land," looking at everything with the eye and the 
heart of a colonist ; yet he threw himself with his 
characteristic ardor into the religious activities and 
responsibilities of his new though native sphere. 
Even in London he could not lose himself in the 
crowd; and, whilst still caring, saving, scheming, 
spending for his loved Victoria, he felt the claims 
of a city to which a Melbourne was being added 
every few years. 

He had not been long settled in London, when he 
wrote to a friend in Victoria a long report on the 
religious state of London, from which 1 give a brief 
extract : 

To A. 8. Pdlmer, Esq. 

6, Broad Street Buildings, 

N(ycember 21#i, 1863. 
My dear Palmer, 

Nothing gives me greater pleasure than communication 
with old friends. I manage, notwithstanding the tyrannous 
demands of business, to keep up a constant fire with all I 
most esteem. I promised you some account of what is going 
on in the religious world of London. It was an imprudent 
promise, one I am incai)able of redeeming in any way worthy 
of the great subject. London is so vast, so utterly unfathom- 



able, that the longer you live in it the more profound it 
seems to become. I need not tell you of ordmary religious 
Ufe; that would be only a repetition of what you see and 
hear daily in Victoria. The Independents, Churchmen, 
Methodists, Baptists, are much the same here as there, save 
in one or two particulars. The Methodists are not so great 
a power, in proportion, here as in the colony. "The 
Church"— Episcopalian— has a high vantage-ground in her 
immense endowments and her status as tlie Church of England. 
These draw to her the wealth, fashion, and intelligence of 
the nation. A man inevitably loses caste who is not an 
Episcopalian. The Methodists, weakened by their long con- 
test with "the Reformers," have made little progress for 
the last few years; but now, I think, are beginning to stir 
themselves, having recently raised a Metropolitan Fund of 
$100,000, besides paying off numerous chapel debts. A 
strong feeling has set in against chapel debts,— a healthy 
sign. The Revs. W. Arthur and W. M. Punshon are the 
most influential preachers. The latter can stir any audience 
to its depths. He is devoted to the service of God. His 
imagination is of oriental magnificence. He is aided by a 
mentory most capacious, which enables him to adorn every 
discourse or speech with flowers culled from every Uterary 
garden. How he has found time to read no one knows. 

The Independents are a great power in London ; they have 
numerous and well-built chapels, and their pulpits are occu- 
pied, as a rule, by clever, hard-working, pious men. Their 
, having such good chapels, in such good sites, is chiefly owing 
to their having established a Chapel Fund several years ago, 
on the same principle as that which I vainly endeavored to 
initiate in Melbourne. Methodism, now it has its Metropoli- 
tan Fund, can do little on account of the enormous increase 
in the value of land. The EstabUshment betrays elements of 
weakness in its divisions. Some leaders of the Broad Church 
party are engaged in the awful enterprise of shaking the 
faith of thousands. The more earnest evangelicals work 
anywhere and everywhere, and form a humble, devoted, self- 



320 



LIFE OF WALTEK POWELL. 



denying band. Tliey preach in the streets, theatres, concert- 
rooms, and private houses. There is but one drawlmck to 
their usefulness : they do not like to work with members of 
other denominations. Still there are many exceptions. 

Then, as to the laymen. The way in which vital religion 
is working among the upper classes is one of the wonders of 
the age. I hear of several families among the nobility who 
hold religious meetings in their houses, and praj' for the 
conversion of the nngodly with the same fervor, simplicity, 
and earnestness, that used to characterize our Launceston 
prayer-meetings. I was at a meeting held in the house of 
Dr. Forbes Winslow. About eighty persons assembled in 
the Doctor's drawing-room. After singing and prayer, the 
Doctor called on any one who had witnessed good results in 
the theatres, concert-rooms, and parks, to state what they 
had seen. Persons of all classes were present. A scene 
something like those we have witnessed in the Launceston 
school-room presented itself. The most stirring narratives 
were given of the progress of the work of God. In one 
theatre alone three hundred were known to have been con- 
verted. A peculiar feature of the laymen's preaching is, that 
they address themselves solely to the great sul>ject — repent- 
ance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ ; Ciirist, 
a present means of escape from the thraldom of sin ; and the 
Holy Ghost, our Regenerator, giving light, power, and love. 
They do not advocate the si>ecial views of any sect. They 
have what is wanted in these days of cold infidelity — great 
simi^licity and eanaestness. The question with them is, 
*' Are you converted? If not, you are in tlie thraldom of the 
devil." God blesses this style of proclaiming the truth ; it 
is practical and plain; there is no getting away from it; 
sinnei^ yield more readily to its jjower than if attacked in the 
most learned and logical form. As of old, the greatest 
success is with those who lead a holy life, who are instant 
in prayer, and have a deep acquaintance with tlie Word of 
God. Is not this " Word a hammer that breakcth the rock 
in pieces " ? 



HIS DECLINING HEALTH AND DEATH. 



321 







Mr. Brownlow North, brother of Lord North, preaches 
with singular power and originality. He speaks just like 
one who has escaped from the horrible pit and the miry clay. 
I heard him on Ephesians ii. 1-5— most startling and vivid. 

Mre. Powell and I attended an evening party, for "Chris- 
tian conference and prayer," at a gentleman's house. Nearly 
all were Episcopalians. About fifty assembled in the draw- . 
in'r-room. It was a time of refreshing from the presence of 

the Lord. 

Think of four hundred city missionaries; the Strangers' 
Friend Society, numbering three hundred unpaid visitoi*9 ! 
But, as the Apostle says, when recountmg the heroes of the 
faith, " time would fail" to speak of the numerous agencies 
for spreading the knowledge of salvation. Yet the laborers 
are too few. One of the most earnest said to me the other 
day, "The tide of wickedness is so vast, that our efforts are 
puny in comparison." Still the signs of the times are de- 
cidedly in favor of the Church of Christ; the people gladly 
flocking to hear any one who is in earnest. 

In the spring of 1864, Mr. Powell visited the 
iron districts of Belgium and Germany, for the pur- 
pose of extending the trade of his Melbourne firm 
in that direction. This was almost wholly in the 
interests of his young partners there, as his connec- 
tion with the Victorian business was to terminate 
in 1865. 

On the 16th of November, 1865, the Eev. D. J. 
Draper and Mrs. Draper visited Mr. Powell, staying 
at his house a fortnight. They also spent Christmas 
there, and Mr. and Mrs. Powell were the last friends 
they saw in London, being accompanied by them to 
the train which conveyed them from Paddington 
to Plymouth, on New Year's Day, 1866. On the 
17th of January, Mr. Powell wrote in his diary : 
14* 



322 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 




" The fii*st thing I read this morning was the foun- 
dering of the steamship * London,' with two hundred 
and seventy-six pei*sons, and amongst them our dear 
friends, Mr. and Mrs. Draper. * Precious in the 
sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.' " On 
the 22d, he writes to Melbourne, " I am sure their 
death will till the colonial Churches with mourn- 
ing. Mrs. Powell and I are deeply cut, although 
our grief is mitigated by the reflection that he died 
nobly, discharging his duty, and that God, in Ilia 
all-wise providence, permitted him to embark in 
that vessel in order that he might preach salvation 
to those who went down with him. The last words 
I had with him were about the Grammar School. 
I said, * I hope you will take this matter vigorously 
in hand when you arrive at Melbourne.' He re- 
plied, ' It is my intention to do so.' In the midst 
of our distress, it is consoling to know that Mr. 
Draper's faith did not fail him in the trial, and that 
for twenty-four hours before the vessel sank, he 
labored incessantly for the perishing passengers." 

" It is to be hoped that he was the means, under 
God, of bringing all who went down, to repentance 
and faith in our blessed Lord. Who, then, would 
have prevented his going to sea in * The London ' ? 
The conduct of Captain Martin and of Mr. Djaper 
are amongst the finest examples of heroic duty in 
modern times. They have left behind a testimony 
which will have its effect on millions of minds. 
Our dear friend was just the man for such an emer- 
gency. God gave him grace and courage for his 
solemn and terrible task. It is also stated that Mrs.* 



mS DECLINING HEALTH AND DEATH. 



323 



Draper, with characteristic though tfulness, kindness, 
and care, gave to one of the seamen who escaped, 
her shawl to wrap round him in tlie boat. I have 
got the artist who photographed Mr. and Mrs. Dra- 
per only, a few weeks since, to prepare a lot of their 
cartes-de-visite, which I have sent by book-post. 
Will you be good enough to distribute them? I 
have also advised the photographer to send you a 
packet for disposal at the Book Room." 

" I think the idea of a scholarship in memory of 
Mr. Draper a very happy one." 

Mr. Powell's first strong symptoms of failing 
health appeared on Sunday, the 18th of September, 
1864. On that day he opened the Sunday-school of 
which he was superintendent, at half -past nine a.m. 
At the close of the morning school, he attended the 
public service of two hours' length in Denbigh Road 
Chapel. At half -past three p.m., he conducted the 
Sunday-school teachers' prayer-meeting, and in the 
evening attended the pul>lic service again, leading 
its service of song. On the way home, he was taken 
ill, and was laid up for ten days. He attributed his 
extreme exhaustion to the want of ventilation in the 
chapel. Doubtless that may have expedited and ag- 
gravated the crisis ; but this was not the first time 
he had spent two hours in a thronged and imper- 
fectly ventilated building. The fact is, years of 
mental and bodily exertion, always up to, and often 
quite beyond, his strength, were working their in- 
evitable results. Whilst regular, temperate, and 
conscientiously careful of his health, he had not- 
withstanding failed to apply with sufficient strict- 



324 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL, 



1^: 



ness to his expenditure of strength the judicious 
principles which he had worked so steadily and 
happily in all his commercial transactions. He had 
not limited his exertions to his capital of constitu- 
tional energy. He had mistaken spirit for strength ; 
more correctly speaking, the strength that spends 
itself too soon for the strength which, having ascer- 
tained its limit, husbands itself and holds on. He 
was not so cautious and frugal in his investments of 
cerebral and nervous energy as in his pecuniary out- 
lay. He did not in this matter " take stock twice 
a year," or " always live a little within his inc*ome." 
Like an improvident general, he had no reserves. 
His was the intense force, the im vivida, which only 
becomes aware of its limitations by collapse. Few 
men of his temperament adopt the sagacious policy, 
by which the Oxford oarsmen won the day from 
their smart American rivals, contenting themselves 
during the earlier part of the course with a buoyant 
pleasurable forth-putting of strength, without over- 
straining or distress, reserving the extreme expendi- 
ture of power to the last decisive agony of competi- 
tion. It is true that Mr. Powell resolved not to 
overwork himself, and believed that he could and 
should (farry out his resolution ; but he had no ade- 
quate reserve-fund of physical energy to meet an 
unexpected emergency. He writes from London, 
October, 1862 : " Business progresses satisfactorily. 
I have as much as 1 care to do, not wishing to work 
myself into the grave by over-application." Early 
in 1806, he tells an Australian friend, " I have been 
so busy and anxious for the last two months, through 



HIS DECLINING HEALTH AND DEATH. 



325 



the failure of the health of my book-keeper, and 
getting into our new offices." And in the spring of 
the same year, "' I have been on the rack for the last 
six months, and felt inclined at times to give upP 

Then came the terrible commercial crisis of 1866, 
when all faces gathered hlackness, a monetary cy- 
clone, during which no prudent captain, whatever 
his confidence in his abilities or his ship, dared for 
a moment to leave the deck. 

He writes: "The money-market has given ns a 
drilling the last half year, both in high rates and 
tightness. There has been an enormous break up 
in confidence ; everybody and everything is regarded 
with suspicion. How people have managed with 
less capital than I have I do not know." 

On the 16th of May, he writes : " During the last 
three months I have been h)w in health and de- 
pressed in spirits, and have been laid up several 
times with feverish attacks and sore-throat. All 
this, my physician tells me, proceeds from general 
debility, and my only chance is to get away from the 
anxiety of business, for at least two or three months. 
I have therefore got all business affairs into very 
excellent trim. All orders are well in hand, and 
everything will be efficiently cared for, as if 1 were 
on the spot. I can, therefore, leave with great com- 
fort." 

But soon he has to write, " The critical condition 
of commercial affairs warns me to put off my con- 
tinental trip for a few days." 

Early in June, Mr. Powell went to Aix-la-Chapelle. 
On the 8th, he writes from that city : " I expect 



326 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 




most of the banks here will fail. Two have gone 
within the last fortnight. I can only get my circu- 
lar notes cashed, as a favor, by the landlord of the 
hotel ; the banks will not look at them, having heard 
of the bank failures in London. The people are in 
great distress about the war. Most of the families 
here have had one member taken away to swell the 
ranks of the Prussian army ; and, in many cases, the 
means of support have gone with the father, brother, 
or uncle claimed by the war. The doctor here is 
putting me through a course of bathing." 

Again, on the 16th : " The Prussian towns get 
more miserable every day. Banks break, mills stop, 
trade stagnates. Nearly all the mills here are quiet." 

" I am prevented making my contemplated tour, 
by the daily expectation of the commencement of 
hostilities. I am, therefore, staying here, hoping to 
derive some benefit from the waters. I am thank- 
ful that the lii-st blow has not yet been struck, but 
all parties have gone too far to recede without a 
licrht. Nearly two millions of men are under arms. 
I^xpect, if the powers hesitate. Garibaldi will pre- 
cipitate matters. There will be slaughter on the 
American scale." 

" Change of air and relaxation have already done 
me some good. I am suffering from a tendency to 
congestion of the brain, and my physician insisted 
on my forsaking business for a month or two, that 
my head may rest. In London we work, as a rule, 
too hard ; but business, to be done well, must have 
minute attention." 

On the 26th : ." We can learn very little here as to 



HIS DECLIKING HEALTH AND DEATH. 



32T 



the details and progress of the war. The Govern- 
ment suppresses intelligence as much as possible. 
Only what they approve appears in the German 
papers, and French and Belgic papers are prohibited. 
There will, doubtless, be a heavy battle this week 
otherwise people will think that Austria is afraid ot 

her opponents." . 

Even here he could not give his bram the rest it 
needed. To his young partner he writes : " I hope 
you will not delay any matter, because you do not 
wish to trouble me now." ^ 

Early in June he removed to Spa, Belgium, tne 
waters of which are celebrated for curing disorders 
of the digestive organs." On the 25th, he writes : 
« I am much better than when I left London, and 
expect, in three weeks, to return to business in good 

condition." 

July 28th.—" Since I last wrote the war has not 
only begun, but seems nearly finished. New com- 
plications may arise, but I think it quite possible 
that peace may be proclaimed before the (Austra- 
lian) mail leaves. The breech-loaders, backed by 
the skill and energy of the Prussians, carry all be- 
fore them. The Prussians, though victorious, have 
suffered greatlv in the stagnation of their trade and 
the drain upon their population, whilst the blow has 
shaken the Austrian Empire to its foundations." 

From this place he wrote : 

To the Rev. O. Maunder. 

(Extract.) Spa, BELGimi, July 27«7i, 1866. 

It is gratifying to rnc that I have in any degree been of ser- 



s^(r^- 



828 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS DECLINING HEALTH AND DEATH. 



329 



vice to you during your ministry in Bayswutcr. It is true I 
have most thoroughly sympathized with you and your work, 
but the weak state of my health has rendered all my service 
so spasmodic and uncertain, that I have often grieved at the 
little help I have afforded you. To have won your affection- 
ate regard is, however, great gain. Long may you be spared 
in your quiet but active work, which effects much greater re- 
sults than the noisy popular style. Whatever may be our 
opinion of fne tailing at an earlier period of our lives, we 
are brought as we advance in years to recognize most keenly 
the truth— that only those can accomplish any real good who 
have God's Spirit working in them-that only tliose can speak 
with power and demonstration of the Spirit, who renew their 
strength by waiting upon God in secret. A vivid perception 
of this truth only comes to us after we have proved the vanity 
of all efforts apart from God. And what a mighty unbelief 
it discovers in us that we try everything apart from God, be- 
fore we will really submit ourselves to His teaching ! I wish 
it were our habit (with all reverence) to cultivate a deep per- 
sonal attachment to the Great Redeemer : to have Him asso- 
ciated with all our plans, arrangements, duties, as our nearest 
and dearest Friend. If Christians were, generally, thus to 
view the Son of God, I am persuaded we should see signs and 
wonders. If we were so convinced of Ilis complete sympathy 
with our individual welfare, what a different view should we 
have of His cause! The notions of true religion, even 
amongst very earnest professors, arc too general; and hence, 
at least two-thirds of the energy and zeal of the Church is 
never developed. It is a deep, personal attachni^d, that draws 
out every power, such as the Apostles had. We want more 
8elf-al)negation. 

But what a fit of moralizing has come upon me ! 1 was 
much pleased to hear that the laying of the Foundation Stone 
was successful. After all, no work we can undertake has less 
alloy in it, or gives such prof(mnd satisfaction, as rearing a 
place of worship. The Gospel is for the -healing of the 



nations." I hope that healing will come to that very sore part 
of Bayswater. * 

" Spa, Aiii^iist 3d.-We find the day too short 
when the weather is fine, and only just long enough 
when the weather is bad. What with books, music, 
chess, newspapers, bath, and meals, we have always 
plenty to do. Beautiful trout-streams abound m 
this neighborhood, which is as hilly as Wales. Our 
health continues to improve, and we do not cease 
to regret our long stay at Aix, with this delightful 
place so near. We should have liked to stay here a 
fortnight longer, but my partner must have his 
holidays the first fortnight in September, and our 
office cannot be left without one partner, as every 
hour documents have to be signed, for which only 
a principal's signature will serve." 

Mr. Powell returned to London so far recruited as 
to be able to attend to business for some six months, 
when a sharp disease of the kidneys so reduced him, 
that he was "obliged to flee for life." In June, 
1867, he resorted to Schwalbach, in Germany, from 
which place he wrote : 

" July 23d, 1867.— I am advised by the best med- 
ical authorities that my only chance of permanent 
recovery is to abstain from all mental exertion for 

♦ See pp. 2i», 296. Starch Green, now called Bas.sein Park. In reference to 
this the Rev. S. Cox states, " Mr. Powell took the Uveliest interest in the Honae 
Mission under my care, and was not only the largest subscriber to the Basseia 
Park Chapel, but e-ver watched the growth of that infant Church. His last 
public service was presiding at one of the social gatherings there. In him lofty 
and sustained spirituality was united, in singularly beautiful harmony, with keen, 
energetic, successful commercial enterprise. Simplicity and sincerity were iiv 
wrought w^ith his nature." 



■iMiHMIPIIPMM 



330 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS DECLINING HEALTH AND DEATH. 



331 



11 



several months, and for the next two years to be 
very moderate in my work. I have been here for a 
month, doing nothing but taking the baths and 
drinking the steel-waters. I do not suffer such in- 
tense pain as I did in London, but otherwise my 
progress is very slight." 

Thus begins an anxious and able business letter, 
of four and a half folio pages, accompanying anoth- 
er of two and a half pages, bearing the same date. 
His old friend, the Eev. J. Eggleston, of Australia, 
was with him here for a short time. To him he 
wrote, on the 24th of July, — 

" I hope you will, by care, retain the health and 
cheerfulness you picked up here. I have not got on 
well since you left. My loss of appetite and sleep 
has returned, with the usual catalogue of aches and 
pains. I am, however, thankful to say, that I have 
more strength to bear these troubles than when in 
London." 

He then plunges into the affairs of the Book Room 
in Melbourne, going thoroughly into its financial 
position (to improve which he had advanced nearly 
$1,500), and making minute and well-weighed sug- 
gestions as to its efiicient working. 

To the Secretary of Young MerDs Mutual Improvement 
Association^ Denbigh Road. 

(Extract.) Schwalbach, Germany, 

July ^Oth, 1867. 

According to my promise, I send you list of a few books 
that will be very useful to the young men of your Society 
who are in earnest to make up their lack of education. In 



this list you wiU find Dr. Beard's " Self Culture," and Paxton 
Hood's " Self Formation." The first of these contains whole 
lists of books suitable for various kinds of students, and 
therefore is invaluable; while the latter refers in his book to 
many exceUent works. The young men should get and study 
well these two first ; they will then discover the kind of books 
they will require for further researches. Pycrof f s book gives 
some capital suggestions, and, for the more advanced, 
*' Abercrombie on the Intellectual Powers" gives advice that 
should be written in letters of gold. Chambers' " Introduc- 
tion to the Sciences" contains wonderful information for its 
size. It is a book for a child or a man, and as charming to 
read as a romance. 

Any desirous to attain the first principles of the French 
language, will find " Coutanscau's First Step" a gem of a 
boolv. But all the books in the small list I send are well 

worth having. 

It would be well for any who want a larger choice of 
books, to get the General Catalogues of W. and R. Cham- 
bers, of Paternoster Row; Bell and Daldy (late Bohn), 
Covent Garden ; and that of Cassell and Galpin in Ludgate 
Hill. 

Then follows the list. 

Next month he removed to Heiden, in the Canton 
Appenzell, Switzerland. Even in this out-of-the-way 
place, he could not wholly escape from business, 
thanks to the perfection of postal arrangenients. 
Here, however, he derived perceptible benefit, by 
" drinking the Swiss goats' milk." 

From Heiden he went in September to Munich, 
then to Dresden ; whence, on tlie 1st of October, he 
again betook himself to Spa. Here he wrote on the 
18th of October : 



832 



1 






LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 

Spa, Belgium, October 18«A, 1867. 



HIS DECLINING HEALTH AND DEATH. 



333 



(Extract.) 

My deab , 

Thank you for the sympathy you have expressed with 
regard to my health. I shall return to London ^najort- 
ni-ht, and once more resume my duties ; though whether I 
can continue them remains to be seen. I shall husl)and my 
strength all I can, mainly directing the principal parts, and 
leaving the details wholly to Mr. Tony. 

On coming from Paris I was so bad, that I resolved to 
have the best medical advice, and was directed to a physician 
of great celebrity. He, for the first time, and at once told 
me the nature of my complaint-disease of the kidneys. 
This, by causing me great loss of albumen, was weakenmg 
me like consumption; so that when I took up my pen to 
answer the June letters, I found I was utterly helpless and 
like a person about to faint from loss of blood. The physi- 
cians consulted together, and ordered me without delay to the 
Continent, as the best remedy, to drink the Springs, which 
are strongly impregnated with iron. The relief I at once ex- 
perienced was surprising. To cut the tale short, my geneial 
health has improved, but the disease is not cured; nor, say 
the physicians, will l>e, under the most favorable eircums an- 
ces, in less than two yeai^. They are of opinion that I shall 
have to leave England for two winters, the cold being likely 
to strengthen the complaint. 

From tlie same place he ^vrote : 

"Yictorians should visit Continental watering- 
places, to see how beautiful towns can be made by 
the judicious planting of trees. With the water 
supply you will shortly command in Victoria, tree- 
planting should be vigorously commenced. Why 
should you not have beech, chestnut, oak, and hme 
trees, and the magnificent firs of the Mediterranean ? 
They would grow wherever they could have a regu- 



lar supply of water, and afford the delicious shade 
so wanted in all hot countries. In your ' picnic 
country,' shade would be doubly valuable. " 

Even here, and in this state, he could not escape 
the harass of business. 

To a friend : " From the tone of your remarks, 
I see tliat it is necessary I should apologize for 
being ill. I know it is a very disgraceful thing, and 
that a man is looked upon as a sorry vagabond when 
sickness overtakes him. The great Johnson ob- 
served, that ' every sick man ' was ' a kind of rascal.' 
No wonder, then, that you, casting about for a rea- 
son, should only be able to account for my illness 
on the supposition that there must be some dark, 
mysterious secret weighing upon my inmost soul. 
My crime is that I have tried to do too much. I 
have wrought in my business and in the Church like 
a strong man, when I ought rather to have nursed 
myself. I could not believe my doctors that I was 
killing myself, till one day head and hand refused 
to work for me any more. That convinced me that 
1 7nust relinquish all my offices in the Church, and 
set about repairing myself. I hope, in future, mod- 
eration in all things will be my motto. With re- 
gard to business, you have my sympathy and sup- 
port." 

The interests of the Victorian Book Depot still 
pressed on him. To a friend at Melbourne he 
writes: "I would make a dead stand against the 
debt's getting one penny larger." He then insists in 
the strongest terms on the " immorality of getting 
into debt." 



334 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 




Of this closing period of Mr. Powell's life the 
Eev. D. C. Ingram (then of Baj-swater, now of 
Cardiff) writes : 

Mr. Powell's deep and practical concern for the stability 
and growtli of the Church of Christ was also very noteworthy. 
I cannot better illustrate this than by giving you an extract 
from a tmly characteristic letter written to me in May, 18GG : 
*'The Church of Christ is having a hard time of it now. 
The devil is playing a very bold game in our day, and needs 
casting down ; for his agents use language now that is only 
consistent with great success. I am afraid he is making 
havoc in the Churches, since there is a wonderful increase 
within the last few years of Rationalism, Ritualism, and 
Materialism. We get confounded in these days by the specious 
reasons that are advanced for the decline of the success of 
the Church; but the time would be better spent by crying 
out as in days of yore, * Lord, increase our faith ; O Lord, 
revive thy work.' The lack of success is, after all, occasioned 
by the ancient cause— imMief. I hope, in the deadly strug- 
gle that is now going on between the Church and the world, 
that our preachers will give themselves only to plain, earnest 
preaching. We want no gentle pruning of the branches, but 
the axe laid to the root of the tree. In these days we want 
men of the type of John the Baptist. I see that those who 
preach the truth without mincing matters are listened to with 
the greatest respect, and have the greatest influence." 

I am grateful for my acquaintance with Mr. Powell, and 
for the stimulating influence of his character upon me. I 
think of him as a choice specimen of simple and beautiful 
Christian life, and of earnest, self-denying Christian labor; 
as the model of a high-principled Christian merchant, and 
as a pattern Christian gentleman. I pray God to give to 
Methodism, and to His Church at large, many, many, more 
such. 

I have been impressed with his tenderness of conscience in 
husinesa matters ; and many things that many respectable men 



HIS DECLINING HEALTH AND DEATH. 



335 



do^and even some good men can do-in commerce without 
qualms of conscience, Walter Powell evidently - ^ not^ j 
not do Would to God that there were a higher tone of 
Man morality in our land among business men members 
of the Church! Then would the Church ''pnt on her 
'beautiful garments," and go forth lovely and attractive in 
the sight of the people. 

The Rev. G. Maunder says : 

His modesty and unobtmsiveness were striking features in 
his character. Indeed, considering his social standing and 
his deep and intense longing to promote the welfare of h^ 
fellows; he was remarkably retiring. Who ever heard him 
in official or Church meetings with loud voice, or pertinacious 
doggedness, press his points? For a man having very 
decTded views and a strong will, such as he had, he was one 
of the most practicable and pleasant men to work with I ever 

""nr Powell returned to England in damaged health; he 
was for several years past but the wreck of his former self. 
Consequently, he did not take that prominent position m 
Church matters here which he did in Melbourne. But I can 
bear my testimony as his pastor for three years, that he was 
a worker, a hard worker, for Christ, and a liberal giver to 
His cause. In the welfare of the Circuit in which he resided 
he took a deep interest, spending time, toil, and money in en- 
deavoring to improve the psalmody in its principal place of 
worship-Denl)igh Road Chapel. He was the indefatigable, 
prudent, painstaking, and kind superintendent of the Sun- 
day-school for several years. He was, for the usual term, the 
Circuit Steward, and managed the financial affairs of this 
Circuit with discretion and success. He supported liberally 
all our institutions. 

The Eev. J. D. Brocklelmrst says: 

On my appointment to the Bayswater Circuit, August, 
18G7, 1 received from Mr. Powell, then in S\vitzerland, a long 







I 



336 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



and deeply interesting letter. Its sympathy with each part 
of the Circuit, and every department of the work of God 
therein, was most cheering. How tenderly he carod for "the 
poor of Christ's flock ! " What warm love glowed in his 
heart toward " little children! " 

When Mr. Powell returaed home, I feared the worst as 
Boon as I saw the traces of sufPering and weakness. But his 
eye was not dim ; it sparkled with intelligence and kindli- 
ness. There was a sustained blitheness about him. When so 
weak that he could only bear a short interview, he inquired, 
as it might be a father concerning his children, about each 
officer, and the welfare of the work of God in each part of 
the Circuit. 

I had one special opportunity of seeing him as his end drew 
nigh. That season of "holy communion " may never be for- 
gotten. I was slowly retiring, when he drew back the curtain 
and signalled me to stay. It was to give me a thank-offering 
to be dispersed to the poor; a characteristic close to a life of 
singular love to God and to his neighbor. 

In the beginning of 1868, fatal symptoms rapidly 
developed. During the few weeks of linal conflict 
the reality and depth of his Christianity became 
blessedly apparent. Mr. Maunder, who attended 
him to the last, gives the following details : 

Grasping me l)y the hand, as I sat by his bedside, he said : 
*' I have not to go to heaven to l)e with Christ ; He is here ; " 
(laying his hand upon his heart ;)"//<? is here-it is Christ in 
3/<??<— heaven Vvithin. I have Him here." 

Some beautiful expressions fell from his lips during his 
illness, which were noted do^vn. " O mamma," said he one 
morning, addi'essing his wife, "such a glorious night ! Such 
a baptism of love 1 Christ is in me, the hope of glory ! I 
have always had a divided heart ; now I have given it all to 
Him, and He in return has revealed to me the treasures of 
His kingdom." 



HIS DECLINING HEALTH AND DEATH. 



337 



t^\ 



When some flowers were brought to f^' ^;;/%;f^f^ 
them near me, that I may admire the works of God If ever 
tnem neai i , beautiful trees 

I see the spring again, low I '^'f^^^^^ appreciated as I 
and quiet walks among them ! I ha,ve never api 
ought to have done, God^s beautiful works; they all glorify 

^ To' Mrs. Powell he said, "If any one says to jou that I 
have bl patient, or have done anything during my life, say 
«No' I have deserved hell. It is all Chnst. 

Spealdng of a friend, he said, " Hers is the right religion ; 

'' ^"eS- and Laura " (said he, speaking in refer- 
ence to his beloved and only child) "in perfect confidence, 
knowing that you will soon follow me." x i n 1.0 

"^Oran^other occasion he said, "If God spare -el shall be 
verv happy to work a little longer for Him; but if not, I 
IhaU depart, and be with Christ, which is far better." From 
fmc to W he would exclaim, ''How I am surrounded by 
mercies! So many comforts that others are deprwed o^ 
nursed -with such tender care ; so many kmd friends ! Thank 
Twho inquire after me." "Satan has tried hard to ha.e 
me but ClLt has won the victory." On being told that 
"^^l.. the happiest room in the house," ;' Of course . iV 
he replied, with a smile, "because Chnst is here To the 
Rev R. W. Forrest, Chaplain of the Lock Hospital, he said, 
^Ihave loved and served my Saviour for more than five-and- 
twenty years; but I have never known such happiness as 
ZZ tMs wk, in this room." Even when ^ mind wan^ 
dered his words and broken sentences were lUustra Uve of 
hriting character and Christian devotedness, as well as of 

''^:^^J^'^^ Mndly and a^ectionatel. b^^^ 
sing and praying for them, and referring to their faithful 
services. 

Mrs. Powell records the following as amongst his 
last words : "Tell your father and dear WiUy that 

15 



w' 



338 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



HIS DECLINING HEALTH AND DEATH. 



339 



I bless them all, and that a great change has been 
wrought in me almost without my seeking. Tell 
Mr. Forrest how precious was the little commun- 
ion." " My precious wife, I give you endless trouble, 
but love makes it all happiness." 

He died on the 21st of January, 1868, at his 
residence, 79, Lancaster Gate. His medical attend- 
ant said, " I have attended men of rank and men of 
genius, men who have made a stir and noise in the 
world; but no man ever so impressed me as that 
man. Occupied as I am, the remembrance of his 
holy expression of countenance and his beautiful 
character is continually before me." 

On the day of his death the subjoined lines were 
written : 

Bane of Victoria, 3, Threadneedle Street, 

January 21 «^, 1868. 

Poor Powell ! I deeply grieve that all hope is now gone. 

He has been, in the truest sense, a good man— religious, 

without hypocrisy ; charitable, without ostentation ; bearing 

his riches without arrogance; in all his actions consistent. 

I greatly respected him. 
^ A. H. Layabd. 

Dean Milman truly says : " What is wanted is a 
Christianity — not for a few monks or monk-like men 
— but for men of the world (not of this world); 
but men who ever feel that their present sphere of 
duty, of virtue, of usefulness to mankind, lies in this 
world on their way to a higher and better — men of 
intelligence, activity, of exemplary and wide-work- 
ing goodness — men of faith, yet men of truth, to 
whom truth is of God." 



Such was he whose character and career I have 

imperfectly sketched. 

Mr Powell was interred in the Marylebone 
Cemetery, Finchley. Impressive sermons, since 
published, were preached, in improvement of his 
death, at Bayswater, by the Eev. George Maunder, 
and by the Rev. J. C. Symons, at Melbourne, where 
notwithstanding his long absence, his death was teit 
to be a public calamity. 



THE LESSONS OF HIS LIFE. 



341 



: !' 



m 






I 



] 



I 



CHAPTEE XXm. 



THE LESSONS OP HIS LIFE. 



We have endeavored to set Mr. Powell before our 
readers as he was ; not a perfect man (for there 
are none upon earth who, in the sight of an infi- 
nitely holy and just God, can claim to be perfect in 
all their life and conduct, and Walter Powell would 
have disclaimed with all his energy the assumption 
that he was a perfect being), but a man with like 
passions with ourselves, tempted in all points as we 
are, who yet for a period of twenty-five years of an 
extraordinarily busy and laborious life, maintained 
a close communion and constant intercourse with 
his Saviour, and amid all the cares of business 
walked with God ; and though in the world, and 
actively engaged in worldly enterprises, was yet not 
of this world, but rejoiced in being a citizen of the 
Jerusalem which is above. 

Such a life is in most respects a model for our 
imitation, an example which we may wisely copy ; 
and the lessons it affords should not be lost upon us. 
There are in our country thousands of professedly 
Christian young men, entering upon a business life, 
many of them under far more favorable circum- 
stances than those which surrounded Walter Powell, 
when he first entered upon his Christian course ; 



could they be induced to follow Christ as he did, 
to make it their first and great concern to live and 
work for Christ, how much might they accomphsli 
for the Church and for a perishing world ! All might 
not, and probably would not, be endowed with Ins 
remarkable business capacities; but there are none 
who could not, if they would, follow Christ as he 
had followed Him, and thus prove themselves sons 
of God, without reproach, lights in the world the 
glory and joy of the Church of God, and radiant 
jewels in the Saviour's crown. 

There are, too, thousands more of Christian men, 
who have already entered upon a business life, and 
some of whom have begun to attain success and to 
accumulate wealth by their activity and enterprise ; 
not a few of these, we are glad to say, earnestly de- 
sire to consecrate themselves and their earnings to 
the cause of Christ, and at times, under the influ- 
ence of a holy zeal, resolve " to attempt great things 
for God." To such the example of Walter Powell's 
systematic and wide-reaching Christian beneficence, 
and his comprehensive survey of the wide fields for 
its exercise, will be of great benefit. They will learn 
that the charity which is to be effective for the over- 
throw of the powers of evil and the upbuilding 
of Christ's kingdom, must not depend upon impulse, 
but have for its foundation a full understanding of 
the vastness of the work to be accomplished, of the 
necessity for it, and an unfaltering persistency in 
]>usliiug it steadily forward, till the topmost stone 
shall have been placed upon the noble structure, 
amid the acclamations of a rejoicing universe. 



842 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



THE LESSONS OF HIS LIFE. 



343 





Let us then seek out the lessons taught us by this 
noble life, and endeavor to apply them to the bene- 
fit of those who, amid the cares and toils of a busi- 
ness life, are seeking to do the will of the Master, 
as well as those who, thongh hitherto careless, may 
be incited to Christian activity by his holy example. 

I. We learn the importance of self-culture and 
8elf-s(yrutiny, not only at the beginning, but at every 
stage of the Christian course. Many of our young 
Christian business men have begun active life with 
a much more thorough education than the scanty 
training which Walter Powell received from his 
mother's lips on the Macquarie plains, or that which 
he afterward acquired in the auctioneer's store at 
Launceston ; but no amount of early education can 
supply the place of a rigid and thorough self-culture 
such as that to which he subjected himself. The 
power of expressing his thoughts with freedom and 
force, the habit of thoughtful meditation on what 
he had heard and read, and above all, the constant, 
thorough, and critical study of the Scriptures — these 
were elements of the success which followed his 
subsequent efforts in laboring for Christ. For it is 
not, after all, so much in its quantity as in its qual- 
ity, that the learning acquired in the schools fails 
to fit a man for the highest usefulness. It nnist be 
a culture of the spiritual nature, a sanctified learn- 
inir, a knowledsje of the works, the will, and the law 
of God, which shall pervade the soul and lift it above 
the sordid considerations of earthly gain into the 
purer atmosphere of heaven. Let all who would be, 
like him, " diligent in business, fervent in spirit, 



\ 



servinr. the Lord," learn this habit of self-culture, 
and they will find not only their spiritual strength, 
but their enjoyment, greatly increased thereby, io 
the thoughtful, prayerful, and earnest student of the 
Divine Word, there are constantly opetied new and 
precious truths, so full of delight and instruction, so 
wonderful in their beauty, that he seems to himselt 
never before to have discerned its preciousness, and 
he comprehends in its fulness what David meant 
when he said, " How sweet are Thy words ^nto my 
taste ! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth I 
« Thy word is very pure, therefore Thy servant lov- 

eth it." ^ , . , , ,, 

And then, as really a part of this self-culture, 

comes the self-scrutiny or sdf examination. It 

was the wisest of the Grecian philosophers who laid 

it down as a maxim for each of his pupils, "Know 

thyself ; " but it was a wiser than he, an inspired 

prophet and teacher, who uttered the prayer, " Search 

me O God, and know my heart ; try me and know 

my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way 

in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." 

The advantages of a prayerful self-scrutiny are 

many and great : it enables us to detect and abandon 

our errors and faults ; it tends to keep us humble, 

and to make us think of ourselves as we ought to 

think, and not as our vain hearts would lead us to 

think. 

There may be weak and despondent souls, who, 
adopting Walter Powell's rigid and severe habits of 
self-examination and self -accusation, would be driven 
to despair ; but if there are any such, we commend 





344 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



to them David's prayer, which we have quoted above, 
as commingling with a scrutiny more severe than 
his, a prayer for Divine support and guidance. 
But there is no possibility of rearing a character of 
consistent piety and Christian activity without lay- 
ing its foundations broad and deep, in the knowl- 
edire of the weakness and sinfulness of our own 
hearts, their special defects and besetting sins; a 
strong and unfaltering faith in God, and that de- 
cided Christian culture which sanctities all the fac- 
ulties of the mind and soul, and consecrates them to 
the service of God. 

II. In Mr. Powell's case, as in that of every man 
who like him has successfully combined the Chris- 
tian life with the highest business activity, there 
was a perfect harmony of s^imtual and secular life. 
His religion was not of that sort which expends it- 
self in Sabbath-day observances, and is laid off like 
the Sunday clothing, at their close, not to be resumed 
till the succeeding Sabbath ; it was not a religion 
which permitted during the days of the week, double- 
dealing, falsehood, commercial frauds and tricks, 
sharp bargains, and undue advantages over a custo- 
mer. On the contrary his Christian principle was 
carried into his business ; it permeated his secular 
life, and the first question which occurred to him 
in relation to any transaction was: Is this right? 
AVill it be just and honest toward my neighbor? or 
AVill it briuir dishonor on the cause of Christ ? We 
do not mean to say that in all cases he lived up to 
the highest spirit of these questions, but whenever 
he had departed from them ever so slightly, and the 



THE LESSONS OF HIS LIFE. 



345 



w 



instances were rare in which he did so, his habit of 
rigid self-examination at once convinced him of his 
error, and he at once confessed it, and made ample 
amends. The instance in which he had prosecuted 
a claim he held against a brother before a court, and 
when convinced of his error, promptly made repara- 
tion, relinquishing a part of his just dues to promote 
reconciliation, is a case in point. His conscience 
was very sensitive on this matter. He was known 
after he had become wealthy, as a close buyer, but 
he never resorted to any unfair or dishonorable 
methods to obtain goods at less than their value, and 
\vhile he would submit to no trickery, or double- 
dealing on the part of others, he always kept his own 
conscience free from stain. To his customers his 
course was eminently fair and just. He made a liv- 
ing profit on his goods, as it was his duty to do ; but 
he would have no leading articles, and any advanta- 
ges which his purchasing for ready money gave him 
or which arose from his skill as a buyer, were turaed 
to the benefit of his customers. From them in re- 
turn he required prompt payment, and reciprocally 
fair dealing ; but if they met with misfortunes, he 
was first and readiest to help them to their feet 
again. There was no cant or hypocrisy in his com- 
position, and hence his business conversation and 
corix3spondence was not overloaded with scriptural or 
relio-ious phrases, as is too often the case with those 
who seek to make a gain of godliness ; but the Chris- 
tian principle which prompted them was obvious in 
all his business transactions. 

Is it said, that all we have stated of his business 
15* 



THE LESSONS OF HIS LIFE. 



347 



346 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 




intercourse with buyers and sellers, might with truth 
be said of some men who make no profession of 
piety? we admit it, but with a difference. To those 
who are prompted by no higher principle than a love 
of fair and honest dealing, there is yet a something 
wanting, hardly to be described, but readily percep- 
tible by the dullest comprehension ; a radiance like 
that which illumined the face of Moses when he 
came down from the Mount. Of one of these 
noble Christian men of business now living, we once 
heard this remark made by an irreligious man : " I 
know Mr. C. is a Christian. lie never said anything 
about religion to me, and he did no better by me 
than Messrs. (a highly honorable but not reli- 
gious house) would have done ; but there was some- 
thing in his way, that made me feel that he was 
doing business on Christian principles ; and I could 
almost see his face shine." It is the " beauty of 
holiness" that thus illuminates the Christian life. 

III. This same Christian principle made him, a 
man naturally imperious and exacting, the most 
considerate and tJioughtful of men toward his em- 
ployes, Yei7 beautiful was his relation to these. 
He was ever regardful of their interests, solicitous 
for their health, and by judicious training and ac- 
customing them to responsibility and care, and his 
affectionate and fraternal correspondence with them, 
he very soon fitted them to become managers and 
partners in his business, or procured for them other 
situations where they could be in the high road to 
advancement. He was also always watchful over 
their spiritual interests. 



i 



This is a matter of more importance than some are 
disposed to think. We have known some otherwise 
excellent Christian business men, whose treatment 
of their employes was a dishonor to their religious 
profession. They seemed only solicitous to obtain 
from them an amount of work which they assumed 
to be commensurate with the not very liberal wages 
or salaries they paid them, and manifested no more 
interest in their physical, intellectual, or spiritual 
welfare than if they were mere brutes. There was 
no inducement to work in the hope of future promo- 
tion or partnership ; no appreciation of acts of faith- 
ful service ; no solicitude for their moral or physi- 
cal health ; no admission to any social privileges ; it 
was only so much work for so much pay, and if an 
application was made, after years of patient and 
conscientious service, for an advance, they were very 
coolly told that if they were dissatisfied with their 
pay, there were plenty of others who would be glad 
to take their places. Now this course is not only 
unchristian, but it is unwise, as a mere matter of 
policy. In this matter, as in all others, the highest 
development of Christian principle is really the 
wisest human policy. The merchant or banker who 
makes the welfare of his employes his personal in- 
terest, who seeks to attach them to him by a gener- 
ous policy and a solicitude for their physical, intel- 
lectual, and moral well-being, who protects them 
from the snares and temptations which beset 
young pei-sons in all large towns, by a wise regard 
for their social condition, and recognizes with kindly 
thankfulness their efforts to serve him conscien- 



..^ 




348 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 




tiously, and who encourages their fidelity by timely 
and judicious promotion, will be served more faith- 
fully and profitably, and by more loving hands, than 
the man who takes no interest in his employes ; and 
in any time of disaster or peril, he will find that he 
has a corps of attached and willing clerks ready to 
do all in their power for him, while the coldly self- 
ish employer will be either deserted or robbed by 
those who have ceased to feel any interest in one 
who evidently did not care for them. 

But to the Christian merchant or banker there are 
other and higher consideraticms which should make 
him the kindest and most thouglitful of employ ei-s. 
God has placed these young persons under his care, 
and if he neglects their spiritual as well as their 
temporal welfare, he nmst give an account to God 
for his neglect, and if they through his disregard of 
their interests, are led astray and linally perish, their 
blood will be found on his skirts. Apart from this, 
there is no obligation resting on him in regard to 
th^e with whom he is called to deal which has not 
a tenfold stronger application to the case of his 
employes, and fidelity to God, and to his duties to 
his neighbor, require of him the fulfilment of his 
plain duty to those dependent upon him. 

lY. We learn from Mr. Powell's life a lesson of the 
necessity of spiritual activity in Church relation- 
ship^ to the full development of the Christian life. 
In the hurry and bustle of business, the on-rushing 
tide of commerce, and the absorbing interest of 
great financial operations, there is a strong tendency, 
on the part of really pious business men, to compro- 



THE LESSONS OF HIS LIFE. 



349 



! 



mise for a neglect of active participation in Church 
duties, by the giving of money. They have not time 
to attend the prayer and conference meetings, to take 
a class in the Sabbath-school, to lead a praying circle, 
to visit the sick saints, or to aid in some city mission, 
which is sadly in need of help ; but if pecuniary 
assistance will answer the purpose, they are ready to 
give that. 

This is not the Scriptural rule. With the rich as 
well as the poor, the busy as well as the unemployed, 
the prayers and alms must go up together. Mr. 
Powell was in this matter a model Christian disci- 
ple. At a time when from the rush to the gold 
regions, and the impossibility of obtaining capable 
assistance, he was doing the work of three men, and 
giving very largely to every benevolent cause, he 
yet maintained his position as a prayer-leader, class- 
leader, and, for a part of the time, as an exhorter. 
Beyond this he was also active and zealous in the 
secular affairs of the Church, providing for its mis- 
sions and the supply of the means of grace in the 
crowded mining districts, devising means of aiding 
homeless and friendless emigrants, and extending in 
every way the influences of Christianity over the 
communities, which, but for his energetic efforts, 
would have been " without God and without hope 
in the world." And in England, while in failing 
health, with the cares of a vast business on his hands, 
and still constantly thoughtful and active in pro- 
moting the spiritual interests of his Australian 
home, he yet took charge of a large Sabbath-school 
in one of the destitute districts of London, and sue- 



aasBMM 



350 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



ceedcd in establisliing there a chapel, and collecting 
a large congregation ; and meanwhile was active in 
similar efforts in other parts of tlie great metropolis. 
y. We learn from Mr. Powell's life lessons of 
great importance and value in regard to the lest 
methods of exercising a comprehensive lenevolence, 
Walter Powell's was too large-hearted and grand a 
nature, to be confined within narrow or circumscrib- 
ed limits in his giving. He gave because it was a 
pleasure and delight to him to give ; when he was 
poor, he gave freely and largely from his poverty ; 
when he became rich, his wealth increased not only 
the amount but the proportion of his giving. 

Yet this bounteous giving was only spontaneous 
in that it proceeded from a liberal, generous heart. 
It was like all his religious life, conducted on a sys- 
tematic and well-ordered plan. In the very begin- 
ning of his Christian life, when his scanty income 
was hardly sufficient to support his little household, 
and he felt bound to economize to the utmost to 
avoid debt, lie devoted the tenth of his income to 
the cause of religion and philanthropy ; as his cir- 
cumstances became more prosperous, he laid down 
the principle that the tenth should be the minimum, 
of his yearly contribution, and while his maximum, 
was subsequently a fifth, a fourth, or in some cases, 
the half of his almost princely income, the tenth re- 
mained as the measure below which under no cir- 
cumstances he would fall. In one of those disas- 
trous years, to which commerce is so liable, he wrote 
to a friend, " As I have no profits out of which to 
give, I must see what I can afford, notwithstanding 



THE LESSONS OF HIS LIFE. 



351 



my losses." At another time in answer to an appli- 
cation to aid in the erection of a new chapel in Vic- 
toria, he wrote : " In January, d.v., I will go closely 
into my engagements, and send you an order for 
what I can afford. I hope it may be $2,500, possibly 
it may not be half that sum, as the claims upon me 
are large in proportion to my income ; but I thank 
God heartily for giving me anything to spare, and 
any disposition to give." The order sent was for 
the $2,500. The principle with him was not, " How 
little can I give and yet satisfy my conscience?" 
but, '' How much can I spare from my business 
without embarrassing it, for the cause of GodT' 
And this is as it should be. A rigid adherence to 
the rule of giving a tenth of the income may work 
hardship in some cases, while in others it is not a 
fair proportion of the income for God's service. 
Let us illustrate this : A. has an income of $1,000 
obtained by his daily labor, and has no reserve. On 
this sum he must support his family. If he conse- 
crates one tenth of this = $100, to the cause of be- 
nevolence, he must in so doing deprive himself and 
family of some articles of food, clothing, or house- 
hold need, or at all events of something which, if 
not of prime necessity, would minister greatly to 
their comfort. For him, situated as he is, the tenth 
is too large a proportion. 

B. has an income also derived from his labor of 
hand or brain of $5,000, but little or no reserve. He 
gives the tenth = $500, and in so doing deprives his 
family of no article of necessity or of comfort ; but 
if misfortune comes upon him, if he is disabled by 



352 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



I 

■ 



disease or taken away, this rate of giving must neces- 
sarily cease, and worldly wisdom may blame him for 
having given so much. This is a case wliere per- 
haps the rule of the tenth is a fair and just one. 

C. has an income of $10,000 and a comfortable 
reserve. If he gives but the tenth = §1,000, he has 
still §9,000 left, and the certainty that his family 
will not be left to want. His giving a tenth de- 
prives his family of no necessary food, clothing, or 
comfort, not indeed of any ordinary luxury, and if 
he doubled the amount he would still have an in- 
come ample for their use. Here tlie tenth does not 
seem to be the just maximum of benevolent contri- 
bution. 

Where the income is still lai-ger, say §20,000, 
$30,000, §50,000, or §100,000, and" accompanied by 
a reserved fortune, the intelligent and conscientious 
Christian disciple will feel tliat as God's steward his 
duty is not fully performed when he has given a 
tenth, a fifth, or even a third of his income to the 
cause of benevolence. lie has an abundance, and 
more than an abundance, left for his own and his 
family's needs, and lie will feel, as David did, " Of 
Thy own have we given Thee." It is one of the 
best indicati<^ns of the increasing spirit of consecra- 
tion among those whom God has blessed with wealth, 
at the present day, that so many are devoting the 
riches which He has given them to the promotion of 
those causes which will elevate humanity, di If use the 
light of the gospel, and glorify God. In no period 
of the world's history has wealth been so freely con- 
secrated to philanthropic and religious purpose« aa 



THE LESSONS OF HIS LIFE. 



353 



now, and never has human enlightenment and 
Christian knowledge, the culture of the intellect 
and the illumination of the soul, made such glorious 
progress. If this consecration of the gold and silver 
of tiie earth to the promotion of God's work shall 
continue and increase for the next hundred years in 
the same ratio in which it has done for the last fifty, 
we may indeed look forward with hope and joy to 
the speedy coming of the time when " the knowl- 
edge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters 
do the sea; " when " the kingdoms of this world shall 
become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ ; 
and he shall reign forever and ever." The gifts of 
money alone will not achieve this glorious consum- 
mation ; but money sanctified and made effective by 
the personal consecration of its possessors, and given 
to the service of the Master, will speedily accomplish 
it through God's blessing. 

But Mr. Powell was also discriminating in his 
leneficence. He did not lavish all his gifts on one 
object or one class of objects; he did not give 
largely when only small sums were needed ; nor a 
mere pittance when thousands were necessary; he 
gave on conditions where he deemed it needful to 
stimulate the liberality of others ; and without con- 
ditions when he could, by so doing, accomplish the 
better, desirable ends. The larger part of his giv- 
ing was in secret, not letting his left hand know 
what his right hand did, but where his examj^le 
would produce emulation in others, he would allow 
his gifts to be made public. In his gifts to friends, 
dependents, and the unfortunate, he was very care- 



354 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



THE LESSONS OF HIS LIFE. 



355 






f ul not to give in such a way as to pauperize the 
recipients of his bounty ; and his gifts were often 
based on their exerting themselves to earn an equal 
sum, or in some way manifesting their willingness 
to help themselves. The bold, brazen, importunate 
beggar was his special abhorrence, and if he some- 
times gave to such a one, as who does not, it was 
always with a protest that he would not do so again, 
and an apology for his misplaced tenderness. 

In all these particulars his benevolence seems to 
us a fitting model for our imitation. If, according 
to the old proverb, "he gives twice, who gives 
quietly," he doubles the value of his gifts who 
bestows them with discrimination and judgment. 

Another excellent feature of his beneficence was 
his fixed determination to he his own executor, and 
giving what he had to give while in life, to see, in 
person, that his gifts were not misapplied. Too 
many excuse themselves from acts of wise benefi- 
cence during life on the ground that they have 
remembered such and such causes in their wills. 
But how few of these bequests ever reach the ob- 
jects for which they were intended. "The dead 
hand," says a quaint old English writer, " has very 
little power." It is proverbially easier to break a 
will than to make one, and the cases are rare where 
some one does not appear to contest a bequest to any 
object of benevolence. Then, too, there are those 
who, holding on with a miser's grasp to their money 
during life, seem determined not to let go their 
hold of it till yeai-s after they are dead, and then 



reluctantly bestow earnings which they did not live 
to make, upon the cause of God. 

In contrast with these reluctant and uncertain 
givers, how admirable does that system of giving 
appear which searches out its appropriate objects, 
gives wisely and discriminatingly to each, and 
watches carefully the effects of its beneficence, add- 
ing, if needful, to this, and diminishing the portion 
of the other, as it approaches the point of self-sup- 
port, or, from the bounty of others, requires a 
smaller proportion. This is the very highest degree 
of Christian beneficence, watchful ever to make 
every dollar accomplish the greatest possible amount 
of good. 

yi. Another trait of Walter Powell's character, 
well worthy of our imitation, was his Christian 
cheerfulness. In very many minds the idea of a 
true Christian is that of a man of severe and stern 
aspect, who seldom or never smiles or laughs, who 
looks upon all amusement and cheerfulness as down- 
right sin, and who is never so happy as when be- 
moaning his own sins or those of his neighbors. 

We need hardly say that such a picture repre- 
sents, even at the best, a very imperfect, one-sided 
Christian, who has scarcely learned the alphabet of 
true Christianity ; oftener it represents a long-faced, 
sanctimonious hypocrite, who has made his outward 
seriousness a cloak for inward iniquity. Ko! the 
true Christian is cheerful and joyous, and why 
should he not be ? At peace with God and man, 
rejoicing in the sense of pardon and of a Saviour's 
love, he has nothing to sadden his heart except the 



^•1 



I 



356 



LIFE OF WALTER POWELL. 



deep regret that all the world do not know the 
Bweet experience of pardoned sin. 
• Here was a man of earnest, ardent temper, an 
almost constant sufferer from disease after his eigh- 
teenth year, given through life to rigid, and some 
would say an almost morbid, self-examination; a 
man who in early life had known what grinding 
poverty was, and later had received stroke after 
stroke of affliction, losing eight near relatives in a 
single year, and burying in a few years six children; 
ovei-worked almost constantly, and with a load of 
care in his business, in ecclesiastical matters, in the 
promotion of institutions for the public weal, in 
providing for the numerous dependents upon his 
bounty; and yet, amid all these carking cares, he 
maintained a constant cheerfulness, a buoyancy of 
spirit which never yielded to despondency. He 
could thoroughly enjoy the pleasant things of earth 
because he enjoyed so completely the light of 
heaven in his soul, and his sources of delight were 

so unfading. 

We mi<dit go on to particularize other admirable 
traits of character in this Christian business man — 
such as his moderation in prosperity, his unflinching 
integrity, his wise foresiglit, his tenderness for the 
poor, the orphan, and the stranger in a strange 
land ; but his life is so full of lessons for good, that 
we should be in danger of extending this little vol- 
nme beyond due limits, were we to attempt to 
enforce them all. We can only counsel the young 
Christian who is commencing a business life to 



THE LESSONS OF HIS LIFE. 



357 



follow Walter Powell's example, so far as he fol- 
lowed Christ. 

" So shall his walk be close with God, 
Calm and serene his frame ; 
So purer light shall mark the road, 
That leads him to the Lamb." 



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